Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

March 2, 2012

More jobs projected for Brookville

Debbie Blank
The Herald-Tribune

BATESVILLE — Did you ever wonder who made the clear plastic “clam shells” and blister packages containing produce and merchandise, store shelf trays and organizers and even gift set inner packaging?

Now the packaging and printed materials for products area residents buy in stores may have been manufactured as nearby as Brookville. 

Leaders at MBC Group Inc., Indianapolis,  quietly opened a Packaging and Logistics Solutions Division at 9021 State Road 101 – the former J and J Packaging site – in mid-2011.

The big news was announced Feb. 29 as Gov. Mitch Daniels beamed at the crowd: Company officials plan to expand its Brookville operations, creating up to 101 new jobs by 2014.

Now the firm employs eight full-time and two to three part-time workers, said Jeff Franks, vice president and general manager.

“We’re only staffed for one shift right now” with workers utilizing two thermoformer machines, including one added last week.

Leaders plan on two shifts soon with each requiring a minimum of seven employees. In six to eight months, he foresees the need for close to 40 during three shifts. As sales rise and new machinery is purchased, more workers will be added.

Eric Holloway, MBC Group president and owner, said people will be hired for two types of jobs. Skilled workers operating machines will be paid $15-20 hourly; Light industrial workers, earning $12-15 hourly, will perform the “very labor intensive” task of reworking. He explained packages on display in stores that didn’t sell well are returned. Workers break each one open, remove the product and repackage it into a smaller size. 

“The company, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business and Minority Business Enterprise, will invest $4.1 million to add four new thermoforming plastic production lines at the company's 30,000-square-foot facility on the north side of Brookville,” according to an Indiana Economic Development Corp. news release.

MBC Group “will also expand its digital printing operations currently outsourced with the addition of printing, kitting and fulfillment for point-of-purchase materials. Once the new production lines are operational, the company projects to handle more than $10 million of packaging, digitally printed materials and contract labor for its customers annually.”

Brookville got on Holloway’s radar after a friend introduced him to Franks, former CEO of J and J Packaging, which was sold and then consolidated at its  Sunman facility.

The president noted, "With its low tax environment, robust infrastructure, superb logistic support network and right-to-work status, Indiana was a no-brainer location for us. As a business owner, I am very appreciative of Governor Daniels' initiatives in our state that allow us to envision robust future growth potential as our country moves forward."

At the gathering, the governor said, “We all know the magic and genius of the American economy has always been the small companies that became big.

“I’m really happy we’re … in Brookville, one of our modest-sized … and oldest communities. I’ve said so often we have dug ground for 2,000-person factories, we’ve done deals that literally have involved hundreds of million of dollars. I am frankly more excited when a company like this comes to a town of this size… it will make a difference in Brookville.”

According to Mike Biltz, town council president, Brookville “is composed of hard-working people with solid values and principles. It is truly fantastic that the MBC Group recognizes this attribute and has faith in our people and community."

Holloway reported that state and local incentives were “instrumental in our decision to even go down this road.”

IEDC offered the firm up to $625,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $100,000 in training grants based on its job creation plans. “These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives.”

The county and town councils will consider additional property tax abatement at the request of the Franklin County Economic Development Commission.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at 812-934-4343, Ext. 113; or debbie.blank@ batesvilleheraldtribune.com.