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UPDATE: Skjodt-Barrett Foods bringing 300 jobs to Lebanon

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A Canadian specialty food manufacturer plans to locate its U.S. headquarters northwest of Indianapolis, creating 300 jobs for the area, economic development officials said Thursday.

Skjodt-Barrett Foods will occupy 214,000 square feet in the Lebanon Industrial Park and make a $20 million investment to build out the space and install equipment, said Dax Norton, executive director of the Boone County Economic Development Corp.

The company makes custom fruit fillings, icings, glazes, sauces, marinades and caramel for retail food producers, according to its website. It has six locations and employs 270 associates in Canada.

Skjodt-Barrett expects to complete renovations to the former M&I Windows building by September and plans to hire the first 150 employees within 12 months.

Norton said wages for the new jobs will be above the state average. According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the average Indiana worker in 2009—the most recent year for which data is available—made $38,270. The average worker in the manufacturing sector made $52,358.

Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered the company as much as $1.6 million in performance-based tax credits and $275,000 in training grants based on its job-creation plans. The Lebanon City Council will consider a property tax abatement and tac increment financing.

“I don’t foresee any problems,” Norton said. “There’s been widespread support for this project among local leaders.”

Members of the Boone County Economic Development Corp. joined Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis and other city and county officials at the announcement Thursday afternoon.

“This is the largest single jobs announcement since Medco [Health Solutions Inc.] located here in 2007,” Norton said. “This new company will be one of the largest employers in the park, and they have room to expand.”
 
Lebanon Business Park sits along the west side of Interstate 65, about 10 miles north of Indianapolis. Thursday’s announcement comes on the heels of Wednesday’s ribbon cutting for a $4 million rail spur adjacent to the business park, Norton said.

The addition of the Skjodt-Barrett fills the business park, Norton said, but he noted that there are 180 adjacent acres where it could be expanded.

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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