RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) — An eastern Indiana economic development group has launched a marketing blitz aimed to draw food processing companies to Wayne County.
The Economic Development Corporation has sent postcards to 4,700 companies across the U.S. and has created a new website to help attract businesses to the area.
Each card includes a link to www.whyWayneCounty.com and a code that can be used on smart phones to access the site.
The campaign cost $16,000 and has generated more than 230 hits from 34 states and Canada, The Palladium-Item reported (http://pinews.co/s26iQy).
Website visitors who provide an email address receive a one-pound box of caramels from a local business.
Tim Rogers, chief executive officer of the economic development group and the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce, noted that Wayne County has a long history with food processing.
The push comes despite struggles by Really Cool Foods, which opened a 79,000-square-foot organic food manufacturing and distribution center north of Cambridge City in 2008.
The company promised a $100 million investment in the community and planned to hire 1,000 employees over five to seven years, but it has struggled to meet investment and employment goals. It laid off 31 workers last November, and employment numbers fell again in July.
Really Cool Foods also has had several leadership changes and drew criticism for discharging grease into the local sewer system.
Gary Hackman, chairman of the economic development commission's board, said many companies are struggling in today's economy. He said officials aren't happy with Really Cool Foods' progress, "but who's to say they won't turn it around?"
Really Cool Foods suspended production briefly in early October to organize a revised business plan, company CEO Steve West said.