Peer Foods expansion adding 57 new jobs in Edinburgh

For the Daily Journal

A new food processing facility is planned in Edinburgh, bringing 57 new jobs.

In April, Chicago-based Peer Foods Group will break ground on a 113,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center northeast of Edinburgh Premium Outlets at 3013 W. Presidential Way, said Jason Hester, president of the Greater Columbus Economic Development Corp. The company owns Mariah Foods, which operates a facility in Columbus.

The company plans to invest $32 million in the new facility, including about $27 million in the building and property and more than $5 million on new equipment, Hester said.

In return, Peer Foods asked for a 10-year property tax break on the facility and equipment, saving them about $1.7 million over that time period. The Bartholomew County Council unanimously approved the tax break this week. Peer Foods will pay more than $2 million in property taxes to the county during that same time, in comparison to $940 now being generated annually by the undeveloped property, Hester said.

When payroll and annual household spending are figured into the equation, the project’s total economic impact to the community will be about $84 million over the next 10 years, council president Mark Gorbett said.

“The simplest way of increasing income for any government agency is by increasing the number of jobs in the community,” county council member Jorge Morales said.

The new jobs will have an average wage of $14.76 per hour, Hester said. About 64 current employees of Mariah Foods in Columbus will eventually be transferred to the new food-processing facility, said Tom Sutton, Peer Foods chief financial officer.

Built in 1933, the 100,000-square-foot Mariah plant has become outdated in a number of ways, but the new facility will give Peer Foods the ability to address shortcomings while increasing production, he said.

Peer Foods had been planning on creating 21 new jobs, Sutton said. But the scope of the project grew after a recent meeting in Chicago, he said.

“We decided to move the bacon operation to Edinburgh to give us enough expansion capabilities in Columbus to address the growth concerns of our two biggest customers, Tyson Foods and Sukhi’s Gourmet Indian Foods,” Sutton said. “This will allow us to run bacon and sausage simultaneously.”

The revised plan also allows Peer Foods to save $50,000 a month it now pays to rent an Indianapolis warehouse, he said.

The new plant could open as soon as mid-December, but the company would need to pass an extensive U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection, Sutton said.

Completion has been conservatively scheduled for April 2019, Hester said.

Jobs breakdown

The following is a breakdown of the 57 new jobs that will be created when Peer Foods opens its new manufacturing and distribution center near Edinburgh.

  • 32 will work directly in processing sausage and bacon.
  • 21 will be employed in shipping, warehousing, supervision and management.
  • 4 workers will be involved in maintaining round-the-clock refrigeration.

In addition, Peer Foods will relocate 64 current employees from the current Mariah facility in downtown Columbus to the new location.

Source: Peer Foods Group

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.