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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