Shelby County businesses show resilience in 2020



SIDNEY — Even though 2020 was a year filled with unprecedented challenges, Shelby County business and industry have shown great resilience. Who would have dreamed that a global pandemic would temporarily shut down many businesses, moving the unemployment rate from 4.1 percent to more than 21.7 percent and then recovering back to 4.2 percent, all in about eight short months?

While industrial expansion investment dollars tracked lower than the previous years, the overall number of major business expansion projects increased in 2020. The year saw 10 industrial expansion projects ranging from $1 million to $10 million in size for a total of $28 million in major project investment. Those projects created 118 new jobs and retained more than 2,000 jobs. Companies like Edgewell Personal Care in Sidney added additional production lines and personnel in order to ramp up production of their Wet Ones products.

“2020 was indeed a challenging year, but hidden inside those challenges were business opportunities,” said Jim Hill, SSEP executive director. “One good example is Airstream in Jackson Center. The pandemic changed the traveling industry and created huge opportunities for Airstream to manufacture and sell more of their iconic Airstream travel trailers. Shelby County businesses have adapted, grown, pivoted and launched, all during a global pandemic. You have to admire the strength and tenacity of our businesses.”

His report continues:

Over the past 5 years (2016-2020), Shelby County has seen a significant amount of industrial investment. The 5-year capital investment numbers total $1.079 billion with 57 major private investment projects, 1,361 new jobs and more than 10,000 jobs retained.

The following is a list of key projects and initiatives during 2020:

• Industrial Recyclers announced their plans to expand their Sidney facility in late 2019, but completed the project in 2020. The company added 32,000 s.f. and invested $3.5M in new facility and equipment. The project will create 15 new jobs and retain 16 jobs.

• Cargill Inc. – In addition to the $225M expansion announced by Cargill in 2019, the company carried out two major capital improvement projects in 2020. The first involved $3.5M to manufacture pre-forms for blow molding of bottles. When completed in May, the project will create 15 new jobs. The second expansion investment totaled $1.45M to expand and improve the existing refinery process and flow.

• Plastipack Packaging – The company expanded their warehouse facilities by adding 59,862 s.f and investing approximately $2.5M.

• Lochard Inc. – Invested $1.4M for the purchase and installation of a new fiber laser and water jet machines. The project created 4 new jobs and retained 6.

• Advanced Composites continued their longstanding investment in their Sidney operations by adding another plastic production line. The company invested approximately $10M, creating 14 new jobs.

• Edgewell Personal Care – Invested $1.6M in new production lines and tanks for their wet-ones production. The company created 60 new jobs and retained 190 jobs.

• Detailed Machining, Inc. – Purchased and installed a new laser cutting machine. The project included an investment of $1.13M and the retention of 3 jobs.

• Hexa – Invested $2.5M to add an additional extruder and premix system. The project created 10 new jobs.

• IVEX – Invested $1M in capital equipment for a new plastic recycling mix system that created 10 new jobs.

• The year also included numerous retail and restaurant projects like Tavolos Modern Italian, Ft. Loramie Brewery, Winan’s and TownePlace Extended Stay Hotel.

• Micropolitan Award – The Sidney Area was again recognized as a Top 100 Micropolitan Area by Site Selection Magazine. This marked the third consecutive year that the Sidney area made the prestigious list.