The move, Custom Culinary Vice President of Supply Chain David Love said, will allow the company to pump $5 million into the current facility to expand operations and create up to 17 new jobs.
“We’re working through the final economic justification with our internal organization to get funds approved and allocated so we can move forward,” Love said. “Our plans are to expand the facility.”
Avon Mayor Jim Smith said the agreement will save the company about $40,000 annually, and was an important tool to keep Custom Culinary in Avon.
“We were actually in competition with other cities to get the expansion done here,” Smith said. Custom Culinary also has manufacturing facilities in Illinois and Texas.
Another important tool to keeping the company in Ohio was changing a statute in the state’s liquor law, described by Love as “archaic.”
Some of the sauces, soups and bases Custom Culinary creates include wine and beer, and, thanks to a law dating back to the repeal of Prohibition in the 1930s, manufacturers could only buy alcohol at retail prices, rather than wholesale.
“In other states where our competitors operate or we also have manufacturing capabilities, we’re able to buy those products at wholesale, just as any tavern or bar would,” Love said. “But Ohio’s laws were not friendly to manufacturers.”
That all changed this spring when State Sen. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, drafted S.B. 73, to amend the liquor laws and allow Ohio food manufacturers to purchase alcohol at wholesale value, as part of Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor's Common Sense Initiatve (CSI) Ohio to get rid of unnecessary regulations.
“It makes Ohio more of a business-friendly state,” said Aleah Page, a legislative aide to Sen. Manning. “This law saves businesses a tremendous amount of money.”
Smith said the money saved from that law change coupled with Monday’s tax abatement will allow Custom Culinary to create “good-paying” and stable jobs.
“We live and die by auto and steel in northeast Ohio,” Smith said. “Being able to get facilities not totally associated with those industries helps act as a buffer to the recession troubles we have. We want to have more diversification.”