RDA Happenings December 2015
Posted on December 1, 2015 – By Emporia RDA
In April 2013, Emporia’s economy began to turn in a positive direction. Back in 2008 with the downsizing of Tyson, the Great Recession and the bankruptcy and closure of Hostess Brands in November 2009, the local economy was challenged for many years.
It all started in 2013 with Hostess Brands, Simmons Pet Nutrition and then Birch Communica-tions. These primary employers with over 99% of their sales outside of the Emporia market area bring new wealth and income into Emporia. With multi-million dollar payrolls, purchase of goods and services locally and grow the real property tax base for Emporia and Lyon County.
When companies are building new additions and installing new equipment it creates opportuni-ties for our local construction and manufacturing support businesses. Those businesses in turn have increased sales, hire their existing employees and new employees and they work more hours, which translates into local economy spending those new dollars. Those new dollars gen-erate a positive local consumer confidence level in our area.
Hostess Brands is the flagship plant of their three U.S. plants. Over 70% of all the cake products sold are produced in Emporia, Kansas. Today there are over 500 employees at the plant.
Simmons Pet Food completed a multi-million dollar expansion of their Emporia facility over the last several years. Not to mention specific production volume, the Emporia facility has the ability to create more finished product with the expansion of the workforce and input of materi-als. They are poised for future growth.
On July 17th, as mentioned in previous communications and media release, we announced that H.J. Baker would be constructing a Lysine (amino acid) encapsulation plant in Industrial Park III northwest of the intersection of Penny Lane and Weaver Street. If all goes well, the building construction, installation of equipment and hiring of employees will occur in 2016.
This past year one of Emporia’s world-class industrial businesses was awarded the Governor’s Exporter of the Year Award. VEKTEK manufacturers work efficiency tools, in other words hy-draulic and pneumatic clamping systems used in the manufacturing process. I recall at the Ex-porter Year Award Ceremony this fall Emporia plant manager Troy Estes mentioned that VEKTEK in market share of work efficiency tools in North America was number 1 and ranked number 2 globally. They were actively striving to be number one in U.S. and worldwide.
In early September Fanestil Meats hosted a ribbon cutting at their newest facility on West High-way 50, which houses the refrigerated/freezer warehouse space, sales, marketing and adminis-trative office. A new operation to Fanestil at the West Highway 50 location is the Fresh Local Market with all their fresh and some frozen meat products. The market also has Kansas sourced food items, such as cheese, milk, eggs, fresh produce, pecans and other products.
Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing Central (DDR-C) this fall consolidated their operations from three or four locations scattered throughout Emporia to a brand new 80,000 sq. ft. warehouse building. A group of local investors/developers constructed the building for their use. The con-solidation is going to strengthen DDR in terms of over productivity and cover the costs of oper-ations.
Dynamic Discs continues to grow in their two primary businesses, retail/e-commerce and ware-house distribution. They currently have three retail stores, in Emporia on Commercial Street, Texas and the Kansas City metropolitan area. Their e-commerce division ships the ordered products from their warehouse and retail operations location.
In addition to physical retail locations and e-commerce, Dynamic Discs continues to attract and host regional, national and international disc golf competitions, professional and amateur, to the Emporia region.
In late 2014 and from now into 2016, the RDA has contracted with Applied Marketing to assist in pro-active marketing activities to generate leads on business that may want to locate a manu-facturing operation to our area. The direct result was H.J. Baker & Bros. We have begun a sec-ond campaign with Applied Marketing which has generated several leads and visits by potential businesses.
In the last 30 days we have had three potential businesses visit Emporia. One of those business-es was here for a third time. Hopefully, these businesses will want to join the Emporia business community.
As 2015 draws to a conclusion, Emporia does experiences ups and downs with our economy. The RDA and our affiliated partners work extremely hard on your behalf to strengthen and di-versify our local economy. Our metric of success is measured in terms of job creation with above average wages, capital investment in real property and buildings and potential for future growth.
Over the past two decades Emporia business has changed, we believe with the great community support that growth of quality job opportunities and growth in tax base will enable Emporia to continue to grow.