The Economic Development Perspective

Marshall County Economic
Development Corporation
Agribusiness Leader Expands in Plymouth

Farm Innovators has experienced an increase in sales and the introduction of new product lines thanks to their partnership with Tractor Supply, the nations' largest farm retail business. To accommodate this growth, Farm Innovators will be investing approximately $400,000 in a building expansion. This expansion is supported by a 7-year phased-in tax abatement, which was approved by the Plymouth City Council at a public hearing on March 3rd. Farm Innovators has been a part of the Plymouth business community since 1995. The company is noteworthy for developing the first in a long line of products that provide livestock with drinkable water in cold climates. Some of Farm Innovators' more popular products include heated pet bowls, Thermo Cube temperature activated electric outlets, and state-of-the-art deicers.

Elkay Announces $3.9 Million Expansion in Culver

In 2015, the Town of Culver adopted tax abatement guidelines to ensure the smooth, reliable process of business expansion within the Town. This forward-thinking move has now payed off with Elkay Wood Products announcing its 2nd major expansion in just over 2 years. Elkay plans to invest $3.9 million to purchase and install new machinery and equipment at the Culver facility, which will upgrade and expand manufacturing operations. The expansion is supported by a 10-year 100% tax abatement, which was approved by the Culver Town Council on March 28th. Elkay is a family-owned business which expanded to Culver 15 years ago. The company creates cabinets for national vendors such as Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, and Sears. Elkay is one of the largest employers in Culver with over 300 employees. The Town continues to build a strong relationship with Elkay by supporting this investment.

Made in Marshall County Event

Solving workforce development issues involves a myriad of strategies, one of which is connecting with future workers and familiarizing them with potential career paths. That is why a new initiative, "Made in Marshall County," was held on March 7th to connect local businesses with soon-to-be graduates by promoting products that are made right here in Marshall County. The event is the result of months of collaborative effort between many organizations including Ancilla College; the City of Plymouth; the Bremen, Culver, and Plymouth Chambers of Commerce; and MCEDC. The goal of the event is to provide an opportunity for area high school students throughout the County to get acquainted with not only locally produced products, but also associated processes, training, and potential employment opportunities as they prepare for their futures. Hundreds of students and 23 businesses from across Marshall County participated in the event, and organizers are interested in making it an annual tradition.
Hoosier Racing Tire Receives Half Century Business Award

Business retention is a key component of economic development, which is why we are proud to see one of Marshall County's businesses being recognized for their longevity. On March 27th, Hoosier Racing Tire, recently acquired by Continental, was honored alongside 34 other Indiana businesses with the Governor's Century or Half Century Business Award. To qualify for the Governor's Century and Half Century Business Awards, businesses have to have been in operation for at least 100 or 50 consecutive years and have demonstrated a commitment to community service. Hoosier Racing Tire, a provider of racing tires both internationally and domestically, was founded in 1957 and today is recognized as the largest race tire manufacturer in the world. The award represents Hoosier Racing Tire's commitment to St. Joseph and Marshall County's economies.
Progress across Marshall County

Argos Approves Comprehensive Plan
Recognizing the impact of creating a document to provide benchmarks for progress and guide the Town's growth, on April 19th, the Argos Town Council adopted a new comprehensive plan. State funding is tied to growth and metrics such as population, school enrollment, tax base, and economic development initiatives are used to determine how well a community is executing a plan. Argos' plan was created with the intention of growing the Town in all of those areas. Plan development began in the summer of 2016 and included input from a steering committee, local leadership, and residents. The Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG) and the MCEDC have helped guide the planning process. The Argos comprehensive plan will serve as a long-term vision and guiding document to address community challenges and create solutions over the next 10 to 15 years.
 
Bremen Joins Hometown Collaboration Initiative
The Town of Bremen has demonstrated its commitment to growth through their successful application to join the Hometown Collaboration Initiative (HCI). This recognition comes after several months of hard work from Town leadership and residents throughout the application process. The announcement was made by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) on January 18th. The state-wide program aims to help small communities develop new leaders, boost small business, and improve planning efforts. Bremen's next steps in the HCI process will be developing relationships between the government, businesses, and residents to identify issues facing Bremen and create a plan that will address them.
 
Culver Welcomes New Commercial Businesses
Ups and downs are a regular occurrence in the business cycle, and Culver is benefiting from several new and upcoming commercial business expansions. The business boom began late last year when a new restaurant, Lucrezia, purchased the old Corndance Café building and opened in November. This was shortly followed by Ace Hardware in December, which Culver has supported by providing storm water and sewer services to the building. Next, a new brewery, Vonegard Brewhouse, signed a lease on the former Evil Czech facility and opened on Saint Patrick's Day. Finally, an ice cream shop out of Rochester, Sallie's by the Shore, will be expanding to Culver at the end of April. The business has been awarded a façade grant to enhance their new building's exterior in preparation of the grand opening.
 
Plymouth Becomes Main Street Certified
Discover Plymouth began as a small organization of local business leaders and community members who wanted to revitalize the downtown area. On March 9th, after more than a year of organizing and planning, the group was recognized by OCRA as the City of Plymouth was named an official Main Street community. Main Street is a national movement aimed at creating preservation-based commercial district revitalization. It promotes downtown development in accordance with the idea that a community is only as strong as its core. Plymouth is the second Marshall County community to receive Main Street Certification, with Bremen joining last summer. With projects such as the River Gate South housing development and Rees Theater revitalization, this recognition is another sign that we are seeing a true resurgence in Plymouth's downtown area.
Workforce Development Update

Access to a skilled workforce is the most pressing need for employers in Marshall County. With a 3.4% unemployment rate in 2016 and several recent business expansions resulting in a boost in job creation, workforce development issues are important for the growth of the economy. This is why the MCEDC has partnered with the Northern Indiana Workforce Board (NIWB), which operates Indiana's WorkOne centers, to launch a pilot project in Marshall County that will assess the needs of area businesses and implement tailored solutions. The program consists of one-on-one interviews with Marshall County businesses to learn about their workforce needs. Information collected from the interviews will be used to develop a comprehensive workforce development plan. So far, MCEDC volunteer team members have met with 18 businesses to discuss workforce issues. Stay tuned for more news as we continue to conduct interviews and develop solutions that benefit Marshall County's businesses.
Invest in Marshall County

The Marshall County EDC would like to say thank you for your commitment in supporting the "Invest in Marshall County" campaign. The private/public partnership was launched last April to increase private sector support for economic development.
 
Returning investors pledging funds to the campaign, or partnering with the MCEDC, include:
  • Swan Lake Resort and Conference Center (in-kind)
  • Applegate & Company
  • Wiers International
  • Plymouth Industrial Development Corporation
  • Wabash Valley Power Association
  • Centier Bank
  • Michigan Contracting, Inc.
  • Collins & Company Realtors, Inc.
  • NIPSCO
  • Marshall County REMC
  • iAB Financial Bank
  • First Farmers Bank & Trust
Thank you, together we will strengthen and grow Marshall County's economy.
MCEDC | mail@marshallcountyedc.org | 574-935-8499 | www.marshallcountyedc.org
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