Berry Plastics Corp. has picked Evansville, Ind., as the site for its previously announced $150 million thermoforming expansion that will include hiring 360 new employees.
The seven-year investment at Berry's Evansville headquarters involves new manufacturing space, as well as expanded corporate offices to house 250 corporate jobs. Berry now employs about 1,200 in Evansville.
The project represents a huge commitment to drinking cup manufacturing, ranging from decorative souvenir cups sold at sporting events to clear disposables used for iced coffees, lattes and other such drinks. It is a business, propped up by the quick-service restaurant industry, that is mostly unaffected by the economic recession.
That's really the area that we continue to enjoy a lot of success in the market, said Randy Hobson, Berry's executive vice president of commercial development, in a March 19 telephone interview. This expansion is really a continuation of that strategy.
The firm had considered several locations for the expansion, but ultimately settled on Evansville because of its commitment to its hometown as well as some financial incentives. Berry already has 775,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space in Evansville, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
The company can receive $4.9 million in tax credits from the state of Indiana by fulfilling its pledges, and has been offered $200,000 in training grants, according to a March 20 story in the Evansville Courier & Press.
In mid-2008, Berry completed construction of a $20 million, 600,000-square-foot distribution center near the Evansville airport. In late 2008, it finished a 15,000-square-foot addition to the tool shop at its Evansville manufacturing plant. The $3 million shop expansion created 20 jobs.
Also in 2008, Berry closed a rigid closed-top plant in Oakville, Ontario, and a tapes and coating plant in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, will be transferred to the firm's Atlacomulco, Mexico, site. Oakville production will be absorbed by other Berry plants.
The company also is closing a rigid closed-top plant in Redlands, Calif. That production and some of the workers will move to a nearby plant in Anaheim.
Berry is one of North America's top injection molders, with 2008 sales of $1.3 billion, and is the seventh-ranked thermoformer, with $245 million in related sales, according to Plastics News surveys. Berry employs about 13,800 at 66 sites worldwide.
The company reported total 2008 sales of $3.5 billion.