ORLEANS, Ind. (Dec. 28, 2017) — Orange County Economic Development Partnership announced today that the Paoli LLC building has new ownership and a revitalized purpose as the Jasper Group plans to expand its operations at the Orleans facility early next year.
HNI, the parent company of Paoli LLC, generously donated the building to OCEDP in December. OCEDP was then able to quickly convert the donation into a real estate sale that brings in the Jasper Group as the new owners of the 1.2 million-square-foot facility.
“We are dedicated to helping Orange County and to growing a local economy that attracts investment and creates jobs,” said OCEDP Executive Director Misty Weisensteiner. “Orange County has long been known for excellence in furniture manufacturing and has a skilled labor force that is in high demand — we want to take every opportunity to capitalize on our strengths.”
Jasper Group’s four brands manufacture furniture for business interiors, public spaces and the hospitality industry. The company has multiple facilities in close proximity in southern Indiana including five in Dubois County, one of which is its headquarters, and now three in Orange County, with operations in French Lick, Paoli and the newly added facility in Orleans.
When HNI announced in October 2016 that Paoli LLC would be closing in Orleans, the future of the building, and its employees, had been uncertain. Currently, about 120 people still work at the plant as Paoli LLC employees; and community stakeholders, including the OCEDP, have worked diligently to find a solution for the building that could keep jobs in the county.
“I want to thank HNI; while they could not continue operations here in Orleans, they understood the need to have an employer here that employs citizens from Orange and surrounding counties. That is why they felt compelled to donate the building to the OCEDP,” said OCEDP Board Chair Alan Beck. “They knew that our board would be more than capable of finding a party to purchase the building and continue to offer employment.”
Jasper Group plans to retain the current production employees and possibly add more workers to the manufacturing floor when it begins operations in the first quarter of 2018. The company also plans to use part of the facility for warehousing and shipping for its multiple product lines.
Paoli LLC will likely wind down operations by the end of February, and during that time Jasper Group will begin bringing in raw materials and finalizing equipment purchases that can be used immediately in its new operation.
“We plan for a seamless transition and are very optimistic about our new employees and our new building in Orleans, which is now the largest facility for the Jasper Group, and a perfect complement to our other operations,” said Jasper Group’s President, CEO and Chairman of the Board Mike Elliott. “We have had a great experience working with the OCEDP to make this expansion happen and couldn’t be more pleased to keep jobs here in Orange County.”
Beck added, “Mike Elliot and the Jasper Group share the same concerns as the OCEDP, HNI, the residents and other business owners in the county; we need to save jobs, offer new employment and provide tax revenue that flows to the school system and local municipality.”
About Orange County Economic Development Partnership: OCEDP is committed to recruiting new business to the county, as well as promoting the retention and expansion of existing industry. We are organized as a 501(c)3 organization, funded by both public and private organizations that reflect the diverse assets of Orange County. Likewise, our board consists of 12 members, including county commissioners, county council, four town councils, and business/industry. Since our inception, we have fostered the growth of dozens of new and expanding businesses, providing personalized assistance in identifying sources of business capital; connecting businesses with educational, workforce development, supply chain, and other resources; and matching relocating and expanding companies’ needs with available properties.