Indiana paper straw maker planning to add 200 employees

A paper straw manufacturer plans to open a new plant in northeastern Indiana and expects to add more than 100 jobs this year and 205 in total by the end of 2021.

The announcement came Thursday from Aardvark Straws. The company said in a statement that the Fort Wayne facility should be operating in February.

The 100,000-square-foot-plus facility will replace its existing Fort Wayne plant.

The Fort Wayne-based company had said in August it could expand its 60-employee workforce.

The company's straws are an alternative to plastic straws, which are being banned or restricted in some places. It said demand was skyrocketing for the product.

Aardvark Straws, the only maker of papers straws that's based in the United States, was acquired by disposable tableware maker Hoffmaster Group of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in August from Carmel-based Precision Products Group Inc. Precision Products began making the straws for a restaurant customer in 2007 based on a 1888 patent.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered the Hoffmaster Group up to $1.05 million in conditional tax credits based on the job-creation plans. The city of Fort Wayne will consider additional incentives.

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