Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that CAVA, a Washington, D.C.-based fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant chain, will invest more than $30 million to establish a new processing and packaging operation in Augusta County.
The company will construct a 57,000-sq-ft facility in Mill Place Commerce Park. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina for the project, which will create 52 new jobs.
“Food and beverage processing is at the heart of the Shenandoah Valley’s manufacturing sector, and it is an honor to welcome CAVA to the region,” said Governor Northam. “Global food products companies have been attracted to the unique combination of resources and talent that make Virginia the best state for business. The companies that choose to locate and expand in the Commonwealth have propelled Virginia’s success in this booming industry. We look forward to supporting CAVA’s growth in Augusta County.”
CAVA has more than 130 restaurant locations nationwide that serve a fully customizable Mediterranean menu of well-sourced and nutrition-forward ingredients prepared in-house every day. In 2018, CAVA acquired Zoës Kitchen, broadening its footprint across the country. The brand also offers a wide array of CAVA signature dips and spreads available nationwide at grocery retailers. CAVA employs more than 900 individuals in Virginia through its Zoë’s Kitchen and CAVA restaurants.
“The Shenandoah Valley has built a reputation as a top location for food and beverage manufacturers, and CAVA is a strong addition to a region home to many industry leaders,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Augusta County offers natural resources and a highly skilled workforce that will benefit the company. We are excited to partner with CAVA on this major investment.”
“As a Washington, D.C.-based business, the Commonwealth of Virginia is a part of our hometown community,” said CAVA chief executive officer and co-founder Brett Schulman. “We opened our first restaurant in Virginia in 2012, and today we operate more than 30 CAVA restaurants where we employ over 900 team members. With the opening of our new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, we look forward to the opportunity to continue our support for Virginia and its communities.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Augusta County and the Shenandoah Valley Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $200,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Augusta County with the project. The Governor also approved a performance-based grant of $300,000 from the Virginia Investment Performance Grant, an incentive that encourages continued capital investment by existing Virginia companies.
The Virginia Talent Accelerator Program will provide support for CAVA’s job creation. This program is a workforce initiative created by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System and other higher education partners. Funding support comes from the Northam administration and the Virginia General Assembly. Launched in 2019, the program accelerates new facility start-ups through recruitment and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards, and culture. All program services are provided at no cost to qualified new and expanding companies as an incentive for job creation.
“Food and beverage manufacturing is an essential sector of our economy—from the local, regional, and state perspective,” said Chair of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors Gerald Garber. “With agriculture being a rich component of Augusta County’s background, present, and future, we are thrilled to welcome CAVA and believe the provided job opportunities will complement our workforce’s strengths.”