An investment of $15 million is bringing 90 jobs to the industrial park in west Knox County.
Gov. Matt Bevin today announced Euro Sticks Group, a French family-owned manufacturer of ice-cream and coffee-stir sticks that he visited in April during an economic development mission to Europe, plans to open a 90-job facility in Corbin with an initial $15 million investment.
“When I met Euro Sticks’ leaders and toured their flagship facility in Saint-Sauveur, France, I left with two distinct impressions,” said Gov. Bevin. “First, was the company’s commitment to safety and quality. The pride they take in every facet of their operations is clearly evident. Second, I returned home with a realization that we needed to do everything possible to ensure Euro Sticks’ first plant in North America would be located in Kentucky. Today, we are excited to welcome the financial commitment and new jobs to Eastern Kentucky. This announcement is further proof that our state is a top location for manufacturers with a global client base.”
Euro Sticks, a multigenerational family company with facilities around the world, plans to lease and oversee the buildout of a 57,600-square-foot industrial building in the Southeast Kentucky Business Park for its North America Sticks plant.
The facility will use locally sourced beech logs to make up to 2 billion ice-cream and coffee-stir sticks annually. It willproduce a variety of sizes, shapes and lengths and offer custom logo printing. Eastern Kentucky’s supply of beech trees helped draw the company’s interest. As a hardwood, beech is strong and largely lacks odor and flavor, making it preferred for food-grade uses.
“The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved incentives for French company, Euro Sticks,” said Bruce Carpenter, executive director of the Southeast Kentucky Industrial Development Authority. “We’re one step closer to locating a great company in the recently completed Spec Building #3 in The Southeast Ky Industrial Park.”
Commenting on the news, Knox County Judge-Executive J.M. Hall welcomed the company. “Knox County appreciates the investment that North America Sticks is making in our community and we support this project wholeheartedly. We will assist their efforts in any way possible,” Hall said. “I am confident that North America Sticks will have a beneficial impact on our county, with both additional manufacturing jobs, as well as new business opportunities for the local logging industry.”
“Abundant beech resources and the availability of quality manpower were major factors in our decision to locate our new plant in Kentucky. We also received a warm, professional welcome from the local Corbin team,” said Frédéric Debacker, Euro Sticks president and owner. “We look forward to operating a successful manufacturing operation that contributes to the Kentucky economy.”
Founded in 1926, the company made components for shoes prior to World War II. Thereafter, it moved into production of tongue depressors, splints and other wooden devices. As the market for popsicle and ice-cream sticks grew internationally, Euro Sticks Group expanded. The company now operates plants in the Czech Republic, Romania and Turkey as well as distribution facilities in Australia and Mexico. It employs 500 people and supplies over 10 billion sticks annually.
State Rep. Jim Stewart III, of Flat Lick, said he anticipates North America Sticks will find its new location makes a great fit. “The announcement of a global manufacturer bringing its latest– and its first North American – facility to southeast Kentucky speaks volumes about the resources, benefits and quality of life employers can find in our area,” Stewart said. “North America Sticks will make a wonderful corporate partner for our region and a stellar addition to Kentucky’s manufacturing industry.”
The Corbin plant will join more than 460 internationally owned companies with operations in Kentucky. Those facilities employ more than 91,000 people.
“This plant will make a wonderful impact on southeast Kentucky. We want Euro Sticks’ leaders and future employees to know this administration is committed to their success,” Gov. Bevin said. “We will continue to travel the world to secure jobs and business opportunities like we have announced today.”
Sen. Robert Stivers II, of Manchester, said North America Sticks will add to the state’s reputation as a manufacturing hub.
“When you look at the breadth of Kentucky’s manufacturing sector and its recent growth, it’s clear the Commonwealth offers some of the country’s most compelling advantages. Euro Sticks Group recognized those benefits as its executives considered potential locations for the North America Sticks plant,” Sen. Stivers said. “I couldn’t be more pleased to see this international company join us in southeast Kentucky and bring additional momentum to the state’s thriving manufacturing industry. Also it is a testament to SEKY and Bruce Carpenter being prepared by developing a good industrial park and searching for companies like this one to locate in the region.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved Euro Sticks for tax incentives up to $3 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
In addition, Euro Sticks can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies are eligible to receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 5,600 Kentucky companies.
“This is a great project for our region and I have to thank Euro Sticks for making the Southeast Kentucky Business Park the home of its first project in North America,” Carpenter said. “We’re very appreciative of the investment in our community and of the good quality jobs North America Sticks will create. We’re looking forward to helping and supporting them as they grow in the future.