A California-based beverage production company says it will establish its Midwest headquarters in Bartholomew County. Ninth Avenue Foods plans to invest $103 million to build and equip a 260,000-square-foot dairy and plant-based beverage manufacturing plant in Columbus and create up to 111 jobs by the end of 2025. The company says, in addition to complementing its West Coast operations, the new facility will allow it to reach more customers nationwide.
Ted DeGroot, chief operating officer for Ninth Avenue Foods, says Columbus provides more opportunities for further expansion and growth.
“After searching many locations in multiple states, Columbus, Indiana, was chosen as the perfect fit for our growing company,” DeGroot said in a news release. “We wanted to expand to the Midwest, and for many reasons, Indiana and specifically Columbus, stood out. Friendly people, a growing community and high-quality workforce were all factors in our decision.”
Ninth Avenue says, in addition to the Midwest headquarters, the new facility will house up to seven state-of-the-art filling lines. The company specializes in extended shelf-life dairy and dairy alternative products, and says the Columbus plant will allow for the production of certain products that do not require refrigeration.
“I’ve been impressed by the company’s approach to mixing family values with innovative production capabilities,” said Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop. “By leveraging Columbus, Indiana’s nationally recognized manufacturing strengths, we trust Ninth Avenue Foods will find great success here, and we are more than pleased to support their new state-of-the-art beverage facility and Midwest headquarters here.”
The company plans to begin hiring for a variety of positions, including warehouse, production, maintenance and instrument control technicians, quality technicians, and administrative positions beginning in March of next year.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered Ninth Avenue Foods up to $1.1 million in conditional tax credits, which the company will not be eligible to claim until Hoosier workers are hired for the new jobs. The IEDC is also providing up to $150,000 to Columbus through the Industrial Development Grant Fund for off-site infrastructure improvements. The city of Columbus will consider additional incentives.
The state says the new facility fits into its recently-updated Indiana Dairy Strategy, which includes attracting more dairy-related businesses to Indiana.