Aardvark Straws, the local manufacturer experiencing escalating product demand, will invest more than $9 million to equip and lease a larger facility, state officials announced Friday.
Aardvark's new location at 7301 Innovation Blvd. will replace the current operation at 2701 Coliseum Blvd. S. The new facility will be four times as large.
Hoffmaster Group Inc. acquired Aardvark in August and said it expected to expand its workforce due to demand for its straws, which are naturally degradable.
The company's straws were introduced in 2007 in response to the “growing anti-plastic movement,” stemming from environmental concerns.
Aardvark, which in August said it employed about 60 locally, announced late Thursday afternoon it would add more than 100 employees. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. on Friday said the company could add up to 205 jobs by the end of 2021.
“We get new customer requests every single day, and we're proud to produce the best paper straw available on the market while battling the world's plastic crisis,” Andy Romjue, president of Hoffmaster's Foodservice Division, said in a statement. “This facility expansion is a strategic move that prepares us to serve current customers and meet the forecasted growth of paper straws.”
Aardvark plans to hire straw winders, straw wrappers, material handlers, shipping and receiving, and supervisory positions to support its Fort Wayne growth. Details about what the jobs will pay was not provided.
The IEDC offered the Hoffmaster Group up to $1,050,000 in conditional tax credits based on Aardvark's job creation plans. The incentives are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives.
The city of Fort Wayne will consider additional incentives, Friday's news release said.