Monday, November 17, 2014

Havana closes in on deal for fish processing plant

Havana closes in on deal for fish processing plant
By Linda Woods of GateHouse Media Illinois
Posted Nov. 16, 2014 @ 9:12 pm

HAVANA — A new manufacturing and fish processing plant that will bring
an initial five to seven jobs after construction and an expected 25 in
two years is in the final stages of approval.
All that remains before construction of the 12,000-square-foot building
at Havana's business park is final approval from city officials and from
the Small Business Administration. The plan will be filed with the SBA
soon, and city officials will discuss the project in the near future.
For more than two years, the Illinois Small Business Development Center
and the city of Havana have worked diligently on relocating the
out-of-state business to Havana. Recently, significant progress with an
area bank and a key Illinois-based investment group, as well as the
out-of-state owners, has the project on track for final approvals.
Havana Economic Development Coordinator Ron Hills and ISBDC Director
Greg Garrett, who have worked together to bring this opportunity to
Havana, say the benefits of this new facility are significant. The plant
will process only fresh fish and is under the regulation of the Food and
Drug Administration. It will be fitted with proper and FDA-regulated
deodorizing equipment and cannot be compared to other Illinois
facilities that do not process fish for human consumption, such as a
Grafton fish business.
Owners of the proposed facility have operated a fish processing plant,
situated in an urban setting in a nearby state, for more than 10 years
with zero complaints.
According to the owner, "The process of making fish meal and fish oil
with the use of fish and fish offal generates odors. The proper handling
and storage of fresh fish and fish offal, together with the design of
the building and our investment in critical processing equipment, will
reduce and then eliminate any odor issues."
In addition, the owners have created new products from the investment in
equipment and technology. Those new products have been developed and
tested with new markets and have customers waiting.
Currently, many fishermen must drive two to three hours to deliver their
fish to processing facilities north and south of Havana. Hills and
Garrett have talked with those fishermen and were told the distance
traveled results in higher costs and the chance of spoilage, which puts
their profits at risk. Some of those fishermen have indicated they would
be able to fish two times each day, instead of one time. Also, the
central location of the Havana plant will result in lower fuel costs and
a quality product.
According to Garrett, "This client has over 25 years of food-industry
experience, holds a master's degree in food engineering, has worked with
some of the leading food companies in the nation, and has impressed me
personally with his mission, his business plan and comprehensive model
for rural community success. He and his wife have operated their
business for more than 10 years in a very restricted location in another

Source: Havana closes in on deal for fish processing plant - News -
Journal Star - Peoria, IL -

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