The Starke County Council last night cleared the way for a new tenant to move into the long-vacant Stelrema building north of Knox.
They formally declared the site an economic revitalization area and approved real and personal property tax abatements for Chicagoland-area-based gourmet snack food producer Gary Poppins.
The agreement phases in personal property tax payments over seven years and real estate taxes over 10 years. Should the company fail to meet benchmarks set in the agreement, the abated taxes would be due.
Gary Poppins plans to move to Starke County this summer and be fully operational in the former Stelrema space by the end of the year.
The company opened as a gourmet popcorn retail storefront in Evanston, Ill. in 2003 and expanded to a wholesale producer and distributor a few years later. Officials say it’s no longer feasible to rent their existing space in Franklin Park, Ill. They plan to make Knox their sole production and distribution center for their global operations.
Initial plans call for the hiring of 40 or so employees once the relocation is complete.