The Southeast Kentucky Business Park will be the new home to an ice-cream and coffee-stir sticks manufacturing plant.
Euro Sticks, a French family-owned manufacturer, plans to expand and finish out a speculative building into a facility designed to manufacture up to 2 billion ice-cream and coffee-stir sticks per year. The initial investment is estimated at $15 million.
The facility will employ up to 90 people directly. In addition, it may spur more jobs in the local timber industry as company officials explained that the primary raw material will be locally grown beech logs.
As a hardwood, beech is strong and largely lacks odor and flavor, making it preferred for food-grade uses.
“Abundant beech resources and the availability of quality manpower were major factors in our decision to locate our new plant in Kentucky. We also received a warm, professional welcome from the local Corbin team,” said Frédéric Debacker, Euro Sticks president and owner. “We look forward to operating a successful manufacturing operation that contributes to the Kentucky economy.”
Founded in 1926, the company 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.
Bruce Carpenter, executive director of the Southeast Kentucky Industrial Development Authority, applauded the company. “This is a great project for our region and I have to thank Euro Sticks for making the Southeast Kentucky Business Park the home of its first project in North America,” Carpenter said. “We’re very appreciative of the investment in our community and of the good quality jobs North America Sticks will create. We’re looking forward to helping and supporting them as they grow in the future.”
City of Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney said the company’s investment will affect the local economy. “I would like to welcome North America Sticks to the Southeast Kentucky Regional Business Park. Corbin is grateful for the investment and the jobs North America Sticks plans to create,” Mayor McBurney said. “We look forward to mutually beneficial partnership for many years to come.”
Rep. Jim Stewart III, of Flat Lick, said he anticipates North America Sticks will find its new location makes a great fit. “The announcement of a global manufacturer bringing its latest– and its first North American – facility to southeast Kentucky speaks volumes about the resources, benefits and quality of life employers can find in our area.” Rep. Stewart said. “North America Sticks will make a wonderful corporate partner for our region and a stellar addition to Kentucky’s manufacturing industry.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved Euro Sticks for tax incentives up to $3 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets. In addition, Euro Sticks can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies are eligible to receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 5,600 Kentucky companies.
Today, we are excited to welcome the financial commitment and new jobs to Eastern Kentucky,” said Governor Matt Bevin. “This announcement is further proof that our state is a top location for manufacturers with a global client base.”