The Appalachian Regional Commission approved a grant to fund the installation of a new access road and utilities to support the North America Sticks facility planned for Corbin.
Congressman Hal Rogers, R-KY, announced the grant, totaling $429,312 Tuesday.
“Without question, job creation is at the top of the priority list in southern and eastern Kentucky, and the first step to business recruitment is ensuring the infrastructure is in place to support business needs,” Rogers said.
The facility will be located in the spec building on the Corbin bypass.
Bruce Carpenter, executive director of the Southeast Kentucky Industrial Development Authority, said planning is in the works to modify and outfit the building to meet the company’s needs, with the goal of production beginning in early 2017.
The bids for the build-out will be opened Friday.
In addition, plans for the water and sewer work have been submitted to the state as part of the permitting process.
“Both jobs will hopefully start by the first of September,” Carpenter said.
The company is expected to employ 90 people at the plant, which will turn out up to 2 billion ice cream and coffee-stir sticks per year.
“This ARC grant will lay the groundwork for North America Sticks’ Corbin facility, so they can hire employees and start production as soon as possible,” Rogers said. “This project works in concert with the mission of SOAR – Shaping Our Appalachian Region – to leverage public-private partnerships to create jobs and promote innovative opportunities in our region.”
Founded in 1926, parent company Euro Sticks made components for shoes prior to World War II. Thereafter, it moved into production of tongue depressors, splints and other wooden devices. As the market for popsicle and ice cream sticks grew internationally, Euro Sticks Group expanded. The company now operates plants in the Czech Republic, Romania and Turkey as well as distribution facilities in Australia and Mexico. It employs 500 people and supplies over 10 billion sticks annually.