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Baked Goods Manufacturer Growing in the Region

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A baked goods manufacturer in the Chicago suburbs has announced plans to expand its operations in Michigan City. Hearthside Food Solutions makes grain-based snack foods, including snack bars, cookies, crackers and pretzels.  Formed in 2009, the Downers Grove-based company plans to renovate and add to its existing facility on US Highway 20, and install equipment expected to be operational this spring that will allow it to produce a cracker-based product.  Hearthside already has more than 400 full-time employees in Michigan City, and intends to start hiring additional machine operator associates in March.  The Indiana Economic Development Corporation says Hearthside is the most recent food production company to announce expansion plans in northwest Indiana. Just last month, candy and licorice manufacturer American Licorice Company also announced plans to grow in La Porte County. The company will invest $10 million to add a new licorice production line at its La Porte facility, creating up to 35 new jobs. 
News Release:
Baked Food Manufacturer Grows in Northwest Indiana
MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (Feb. 5, 2013) - Hearthside Holdco, LLC d/b/a Hearthside Food Solutions, a manufacturer of grain-based snack foods and baked goods, announced plans today to expand its operations here, creating up to 51 new jobs by 2016.
The Downers Grove, Ill.-headquartered company will invest $6 million to renovate and add 8,600 square feet to its existing 180,000 square-foot facility located at 502 W. US Highway 20 in Michigan City. As part of the expansion, Hearthside plans to install manufacturing equipment that will allow it to produce a cracker-based product, which is expected to be operational by this spring.
"News like this continues to put Indiana on the map as a state that works for business," said Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. "Thanks to our expansive infrastructure combined with the ability to reach 80 percent of the nation's population within a day's drive, Indiana is winning new investment and career opportunities for Hoosiers every day."
Hearthside, which currently has more than 400 full-time employees in Michigan City, plans to begin hiring additional machine operator associates in March.
"We look forward to continued growth at our Indiana facility," said Bob Wojcik, plant manager at Hearthside. "We continue to grow in a highly competitive industry, due in part, to the quality of the Indiana workforce and the state's positive business climate. As our business continues to grow, we will continue to invest in our people, plant and equipment."
Formed in 2009, Hearthside is one of the nation's largest and fastest growing independent bakeries and contract manufacturers, producing grain-based food and snack products. Operating 13 facilities in six states with a base of more than 5,000 employees, the company's product line includes bars, cookies, crackers, granola, pretzels and other baked snack components.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Hearthside Holdco, LLC up to $200,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $100,000 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. Michigan City approved additional tax abatement at the request of the Michigan City Economic Development Corporation.
"The economic incentives set forth by Michigan City have created an opportunity for Hearthside to expand and grow in our community," said Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer. "As the mayor of Michigan City, I believe this expansion and ultimate job growth is a true reflection of our city's willingness to work with current and prospective businesses to improve opportunities for both parties. I am pleased with the commitment and longevity Hearthside is clearly showing to our community."
Hearthside is the most recent food production company to announce expansion plans in northwest Indiana. Just last month, candy and licorice manufacturer American Licorice Company also announced plans to grow in La Porte County. The company will invest $10 million to add a new licorice production line at its La Porte facility, creating up to 35 new jobs.
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