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Indiana's Really Cool Foods Closes Doors

The food company once planned to hire 1,000 workers but never came close, and will lay off its remaining 131 workers by the end of the year.

CAMBRIDGE CITY, Ind. (AP) — An eastern Indiana food company that once planned to hire 1,000 workers but never came close to that number said Monday it was closing permanently, putting its 131 workers out of jobs by the end of this year.

Really Cool Foods, whose decision to put a manufacturing and distribution center near Cambridge City earned it praise from Gov. Mitch Daniels in his 2008 State of the State address, notified the board of the Wayne County town and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that it was permanently closing.

"We would have liked to provide more notice of the closing, but negotiations to obtain an investment of new capital through a sale of the business were discontinued only in the last few days," Chief Financial Officer Joseph Meyers said in a letter dated Monday.

The Richmond Palladium-Item reported that the company told workers who reported for their shifts Monday to go home because the plant was closing. The newspaper quoted Tim Rogers, president of Economic Development of Wayne County, that he was unaware of the closing until company President Steve West called him Monday morning.

"I knew what everybody else knew when they went through the (October) shutdown," Rogers said. "I had been trying to set up a meeting with Steve West for about three weeks and had not been able to, which is not a good sign."

The company suspended production briefly in early October to reorganize.

The Associated Press left messages seeking comment with West and with Daniels' press office.

The company, then based in New York, moved production to the Gateway Industrial Park near Cambridge City in 2008 and moved its headquarters there a short time later.

Daniels, in his annual report on the state's condition to the General Assembly a few months later, citedReally Cool Foods as one of several companies responsible for breaking records "for new investment and new jobs coming to our state."

The company ran afoul of its new neighbors by 2009, though. The Western Wayne Sewer District Board said last March that grease used in production at Really Cool Foods had been clogging pumps and ruining sewage equipment at a sewage plant near Cambridge City for two years.

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