State, County and Knox City officials joined together with a large group of individuals responsible for bringing a new beverage manufacturer into the area during a groundbreaking ceremony on Division Road earlier this week.
Common Collabs, a startup manufacturer specializing in cold brew coffee and other consumer packaged goods (CPG) beverages, is investing approximately $22 million to construct and equip a production facility that will be around 60,000 square feet and include “state-of-the-art, custom-designed equipment”, according to State Economic Development representatives.
The company was co-founded by third and fourth generation family members of Wilbur Curtis, the man who launched an internationally recognized commercial coffee equipment manufacturing company more than 75 years ago.
The founders stressed family values, as well as their faith, as being vital to their operations.
After officials and their families took part in the groundbreaking at the site and held a brief photo-op, a luncheon was held at the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center where some of the people involved in this process had an opportunity to speak.
One of those speakers was Starke County Economic Development Executive Director Larry Wickert.
He shared, “The owners have expressed an interest in integrating into the community and to support our local charities and that’s exactly the kind of corporate citizen we’re looking for. I just want to say that I think Common Collabs will be good for Starke County and Starke County will be good for Common Collabs.”
Knox Mayor Dennis Estok echoed that sentiment and shared his feelings about this opportunity.
Mayor Estok noted, “Sitting down with this company, I really have a good connection with them and a lot of confidence just because of the family values and them wanting to be a part of our community and that’s why we’re really just so excited to have them. We look forward to building a long lasting community partnership with you guys.”
County Council President Dave Pearman also provided a few remarks, welcoming the new company into the community.
Attendees also heard from Indiana Economic Development Corporation Vice President for International and Domestic Business Development Jim Staton who extended his thanks to the company’s reps for selecting the Hoosier state as the home for their new facility.
He noted, “You had the world to choose from and you chose Indiana, you chose Starke County, you chose Knox and and we’re so grateful for that.”
Director of Innovation Trey Malone spoke passionately and credited the success of this endeavor to the solid support system he had while residing in Starke County and working to pursue his dream before venturing off to California where he eventually met the Curtis family.
He specifically thanked supportive community members such as Louise and Art Good as well as the congregation at English Lake Church.
He expanded on that by recognizing the entire State of Indiana and Starke County community for the home-town hospitality that played a role in bringing the company to the area.
Malone said, “This state, this county, you started this. You planted the seed that is now turning into Common Collabs which is going to bring jobs and economic growth into this county.”
Common Collabs’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Brant Curtis provided some perspective about how far the company’s reach will extend while still being situated locally.
He explained, “We’re about to be distributing beverages to some of the largest brands in the world and the central hub for that is going to be down the street in Knox.”
On a similar note, Chief Executive Officer Mark Parrish touched on why the company has a “leg-up” on most start ups and really drove home the fact that this project will come together rather quickly.
Parrish said, “We have claimed a stake, if you will, as being a start-up company with a head start.” He continued, “We have resources and we have customers knocking down the door so we can’t get this facility up and running fast enough.”
With its expected growth, State Economic Development officials report that the company plans to create up to 80 new jobs with positions that are expected to offer competitive average salaries for the state and county.
Individuals interested in employment opportunities are encouraged to reach out by emailing Freddy.Lopez@CommonCollabs.com
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) offered Ten Talents, which is currently doing business as Common Collabs, up to $80,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans.
These tax credits are performance-based meaning that the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired. The City of Knox is expected to consider additional incentives at the request of the Starke County Economic Development Foundation.
To hear the entire presentation that was shared following Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony, tune into the Kankakee Valley Viewpoints program this Sunday at noon on K99.3 WKVI.