TERRE HAUTE —
After a long, cold winter, Tuesday’s spring weather provided a warming backdrop for a welcome new investment and jobs announcement for Vigo County.
State and local politicians, including Gov. Mike Pence, and company and economic development officials gathered at Casey’s General Store at 1700 S. Third St. to learn of a $30-million investment plan for the industrial park in southern Vigo County.
Casey’s, an Iowa-based convenience store chain, hopes to soon start building a 250,000-square-foot distribution center at the industrial park. The company is buying about 60 acres in the park for the facility that – when fully operational – will employ at least 150 people, said Bob Myers, Casey’s chairman and CEO.
Casey’s hopes to break ground on the distribution center in the fall with completion set for approximately 12 to 18 months after that, he said.
Speaking with about 20 Casey’s employees standing behind him at the Casey’s on South Third, Myers said the convenience store chain is growing and needs to expand its largely company-owned distribution system.
“We believe Terre Haute provides an excellent strategic opportunity while also increasing our distribution efficiency and reducing our transportation costs,” Myers said. Casey’s sole distribution center is now in Ankeny, Iowa, along with the company’s headquarters.
Casey’s currently operates its approximately 1,780 stores in 14 Midwestern states. The distribution center in Terre Haute would serve about 700 of those stores, Myers told reporters after his announcement.
Both entrances to Casey’s on Third were closed for the announcement, which took place about 2:45 p.m. Meanwhile, inside the store, which opened in early 2012, a map showed the distribution center will be across from CSN in the industrial park.
Having an industrial park with utilities and infrastructure in place is a huge benefit as Vigo County attempts to lure investment such as Casey’s, said Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corp. Witt was singled out by Myers and Vigo County Commissioner Judy Anderson as playing a key role in bringing the distribution center to the area.
Witt said Casey’s – pending approval from the Vigo County Redevelopment Commission – will purchase the land in the industrial park for $1 per acre. The company will also be seeking 10-year real and personal property tax abatements, he said.
The decision to open the distribution center in Vigo County came after about a two-year search process that included several states and areas within Indiana, Myers said speaking to reporters after the announcement. Indiana has “business-friendly laws” and Vigo County’s economic development team was very welcoming, he said.
“You have a great team here,” Myers said. “You’ve got all the right kinds of laws. … It was intuitively obvious that this was a great area.”
In addition to the local incentives, the state offered Casey’s up to $1.4 million in conditional tax credits and up to $100,000 in training grants. The state will also provide Vigo County up to $200,000 for infrastructure improvements in the industrial park, stated a news release provided at the announcement.
In his statement, Pence praised Casey’s for selecting Indiana from among 14 potential states where Casey’s currently operates stores.
“Let me say to Bob and the whole Casey’s team, Indiana, Terre Haute and Vigo County are always a good decision,” Pence said.
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or firstname.lastname@example.org