(photo courtesy of Cook Medical)

The president of Bloomington-based Cook Medical Inc. says a new manufacturing plant on the near northside of Indianapolis is a win-win for everyone. The company, along with Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana and the Central Indiana Community Foundation, this morning marked the opening of the facility, which will ultimately employ 100 area residents.

“To see it come to life with the people who are in the community [and] are now going to work there, it’s just been exciting to see them take ownership of this building,” said Pete Yonkman. “It’s their place now and that is the best part about this whole thing.”

Yonkman tells Inside INdiana Business he hopes the project becomes a model for other businesses around the state and country.

“The benefits are just so big on every side of this equation,” said Yonkman. “For us, it’s great because we get to expand our capacity. We’re building relationships we’ve never had before. For the people working there, they now have an opportunity for free education. Goodwill’s providing wraparound services. It’s not philanthropy; this is just doing business in a way that thinks about it a little bit differently, and I hope every business thinks about this opportunity and takes this on.”

Cook, Goodwill and the CICF announced plans for the 40,000-square-foot plant at East 38th Street and Sheridan Avenue in November 2020. The building will be owned by the CICF and managed by Goodwill Commercial Services, which will produce medical devices such as drainage catheters and needles as a supplier for Cook.

The plant is opening with a full staff of 20 employees. Yonkman says as time goes on, the facility will take on new products every quarter and add workers to get up to 100 total employees, though there will be room to grow that number to about 200.

Governor Eric Holcomb attended the grand opening this morning and said the effort serves as an “influencer for good.”

“There is a lot of praise to go around today,” said Holcomb. “What has occurred since a groundbreaking to this ribbon cutting is nothing short of remarkable, most importantly because of what will come from all of the hard work. You’ve proven not just that there is a way, but there is a new way, and that centers on or is tethered to good, old fashioned collaboration.”

In January, a study from Indiana University’s Public Policy Institute estimated the plant would have annual economic impact of nearly $26 million for Marion County.

Another major part of the effort from Cook and Goodwill is the addition of the Indy Fresh Market, a 15,000-square-foot grocery store currently under construction near the manufacturing facility designed to alleviate a food desert in the area.

Crews broke ground on the store last October. The store will initially be owned by Cook Medical and operated by local entrepreneurs Michael McFarland and Marckus Williams, who will eventually assume ownership through a lease-to-own agreement.

Yonkman says construction has seen some delays due to supply chain challenges caused by the pandemic. However, he expects the store to open by the end of 2022 or early 2023.