Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann joined executives from Echo Lake Foods, Inc., a producer of egg products and breakfast-style entrees, Thursday to announce the company's plans to locate a food processing facility here, creating up to 100 new jobs by 2015.
"We are proud to welcome Echo Lake Foods to our expanding number of food processing operations in Indiana. These plants are an important part of Indiana's $16 billion agriculture industry that employs almost 500,000 Hoosiers," said Ellspermann. "Our state's business-friendly tax and regulatory environment attracts companies like Echo Lake Foods that provide more jobs and more economic growth for our entire state."
The Burlington, Wisconsin-based company will invest $19.88 million to purchase, renovate and equip a 110,000 square-foot facility at 435 W. State St. in Huntington. With plans to be fully operational by 2015, the company will run six production lines for egg products using fresh Indiana eggs.
"We looked across the Midwest for a location for our new processing facility," said Jerry Warntjes, vice president and general manager of Echo Lake. "After we experienced a fire at our headquarters in Wisconsin, the need for increased capacity became even more pressing. Indiana quickly emerged as an ideal location, with a workforce experienced in food production and just the right business regulatory environment. We’ll keep expenses down—and job numbers rising—in Indiana."
Echo Lake, which currently employs more than 40 full-time Indiana associates in its first phase of production, plans to begin hiring for additional positions later this year. Interested applicants may apply through the local WorkOne Center in Huntington.
Founded in 1941, Echo Lake began as an egg delivery business during the Great Depression and later transitioned to produce precooked egg patties and omelets. Today, Echo Lake has expanded to sell egg products as well as more than 200 retail breakfast items, including frozen French toast, pancakes, waffles and dinner rolls. Sold in grocery stores nationwide and serving schools, quick service restaurants, buffets, component manufacturing, sandwich building, industrial catering and mass institutional feeding needs, the company also operates production facilities in Burlington and Franksville, Wisconsin and Owensboro, Kentucky.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Echo Lake Foods, Inc. up to $725,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $50,000 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. The city of Huntington approved additional incentives at the request of Huntington County Economic Development.
"I believe the Echo Lake Foods project is a direct answer to prayer. The economy is very dynamic. Companies will come and go but our community is known for its tenacity as well as its talent," said Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters. "A number of people in the faith community have been praying for opportunities for our labor force, and I know without a doubt those prayers were as much a part of this project as the economic development process. I'm honored to welcome Jerry Warntjes and Echo Lake Foods to Huntington."
Echo Lake is the second company this week to announce its plans to add jobs in Huntington. On Tuesday, Huntington Aluminum announced that it will double its facility size and workforce, adding 40,200 square feet and bringing 41 new jobs to Huntington in the coming years.
About Echo Lake
Echo Lake Foods is passionate in its commitment to producing the best quality egg products and breakfast-style entrees. All precooked egg products are made from a blend of quality USDA inspected, pasteurized eggs, with only the finest added ingredients designed to create delicious flavor, desired texture and appearance. Echo Lake's IQF heat-and-serve egg products are perfect for various applications such as "Quick Service" feeding, buffets, component manufacturing, sandwich building, industrial catering and mass institutional feeding. For more information, visit echolakefoods.com.