Even as unemployment fears erode consumer confidence, a Fort Wayne-based kitchen equipment parts distributor has announced plans to add 150 jobs over the next three years.
Heritage Food Service Equipment Inc. will invest $1.5 million at its 125,000-square-foot complex at 5130 Executive Blvd. and begin hiring for warehouse and customer-service positions next month, local officials said Wednesday.
The jobs will pay more than $33,000 annually.
Heritage already employs more than 200 at its plant, south of the intersection of Washington Center and Lima roads.
The company has warehouses in Louisiana, Georgia and Florida.
To help offset expansion costs, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. will provide up to $1 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $88,500 in training grants.
The Fort Wayne City Council will consider giving the company a tax abatement requested by the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance. Heritage could save $113,640 on real and personal property taxes over a decade as taxes are phased in.
The council will discuss the abatement at 5:30 p.m. March 9 in Room 128 of the City-County Building.
The company is eligible for an additional $150,000 in training and recruitment services through WorkOne Northeast.
Heritage President David Krites said from a “geographic and community standpoint” Fort Wayne is a perfect fit.
“We’ve been here (more than 20 years), and Fort Wayne has been incredible for us,” he said.
Scott Naltner, executive vice president of the economic development alliance, said since much of Heritage’s reach extends far beyond Fort Wayne “these jobs could have gone anywhere in their territory. It’s a strong business with good leadership.”
Elissa McGauley, economic development specialist for the city, echoed those words.
“A lot of their business is in the Southeast part of the country,” she said, “so to be keeping these jobs here is good for the community.”
In a joint statement, Heritage CEO Bruce Dye, Gov. Mitch Daniels and Mayor Tom Henry lauded the development.
“This expansion will be very beneficial to the future of Heritage Food Service,” Dye said. “We believe that Fort Wayne offers us an opportunity to work toward reaching our full potential as a business, and we want to take advantage of the benefits of expanding our facility here.”
Besides serving as Heritage’s headquarters, Fort Wayne is the site of the company’s distribution center.
“Companies can prosper when they have the right business environment and the right workforce. Northeast Indiana has both,” Daniels said.
Henry said the investment “will have a tremendous impact on the local economy.”