Sheetz delays closure; Daikin's safety initiatives; local grants — The buzz

Sheetz is moving its temporary close time, Daikin has some new safety initiatives and local businesses have been awarded some grants — here’s the buzz.


Back in July, many Stauntonians thought they would be without the Sheetz on Richmond Avenue come the end of the summer.

Now, that timeline has been moved to October.

The Sheetz was expected close in late-July for renovations, according to Nick Ruffner, spokesman for Sheetz.

“The work done at that store will be a major remodel and the location will need to close during the work,” Ruffner said in July. 

The Staunton Sheetz was originally built in 2001.


Looking at the plans, the layout of the property will stay the same, but the store itself may see more square footage. In other renovations Sheetz has been doing, the entire store and gas pumps are given a facelift with new facades, details and larger stores. 

There is no projected reopening date after the store closes for renovations, but going off the previously timeline, it should only take a matter of a few months. 

“The closure of the Staunton store has been delayed due to some design updates and we now anticipate that it was close on Oct. 2,” Ruffner said. “As was the case with the initial closure date, that timeframe is subject to change.”


Daikin Applied has pledged to become a Voluntary Protection Program site in order to keep workplace safety a high priority. 

The company operates under the promise of people-centered management, which links the pledge of work safety and the goal of becoming a VPP site, a release said.

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“We envision a workplace that incorporates a proactive safety approach into everything we do. This means a safety culture that is embodied by every employee, incorporated into every process we do, and is visible every day. Becoming a VPP site is essential to demonstrate the importance of workplace safety to our business,” says Matt Ledford, Daikin Applied environmental, health and safety manager in a release. 

“As a production facility, it is important to pursue opportunities for a safe and healthy workplace to produce better outcomes for our employees,” Ledford continued. “Our ultimate goal is to make sure our employees go home at the end of the day in the same condition they came to work, if not a little bit better.”

VPP is an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) initiative that encourages private industry and federal and state agencies to take safety above legal requirements to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses through hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis and training, a release said.

The VPP can be a multi-year process for a business and is designed to show continuous safety and health improvement. The program sets forth stringent requirements that push companies to create safe and healthy working environments for all employees, a release said.

The team at Daikin’s Verona facility, which primarily produces chillers for large HVAC installations, has been focused on the goal to become a VPP site with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry for more than two years, the release said. 

With VPP, Daikin management, employees and OSHA have been collaborating to develop a comprehensive safety and health management system, a release said. Daikin has partnered with other VPP Star sites in Virginia for mentorship, including NIBCO Inc. in Stuarts Draft, which is serving as a mentor to help achieve the VPP goal.

Verona-based Daikin Applied, a member of Daikin Industries, designs and manufactures technologically advanced commercial HVAC systems for customers around the world. 


Four tourism efforts have been funded a total of $ 10,000 thanks to Augusta County Tourism’s 2017-2018 tourism grant program. The grants support and enhance tourism efforts within Augusta County. 

Awardees include White’s Wayside, Stable Craft Brewing, Jam Fish Music Festival and Red Wing Roots Music Festival. To be eligible for this round of awards, programs must occur between Aug. 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018. 

“Augusta County was extremely impressed by this year’s applications for the tourism grant program,” said Tracy Pyles, Chair of the Board of Supervisors, in a release. “The award winners have strong potential to promote other tourism partners in the county, as well as attract new tourists to our area.” 

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Jam Fish Music Festival — $ 1,500                                                          
  • Red Wing Roots Music Festival by Black Bear Productions — $ 2,500
  • Flight Sessions Road Races by Stable Craft Brewing — $ 3,000                                       
  • Enhanced Marketing Efforts at White’s Wayside — $ 3,000

Possible eligible programs included events, fairs or festivals, marketing and social media applications, design and printing services as well as other projects promoting the Augusta County tourism industry, a release said. 

Applications were evaluated based on the following:

  • the viability of bringing in visitors from outside the region (from 50 miles and beyond)
  • the possibility of encouraging off-peak travel
  • the strength of marketing and promotional plan
  • creativity
  • partnerships with and promotion of other Augusta County businesses

Grants will be used to fund new initiatives or new marketing and promotion efforts for existing projects.

The buzz is a short recap of area business trends. Send ideas to reporter Laura Peters at or follow her @peterslaura and @peterpants

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