Although earth-moving equipment has already been at work, the formal groundbreaking for a local family-run distributor in the business park was held Thursday.
Family-owned and operated since 1982, Koerner Distributor Inc. has grown to become one of the largest beverage distributors of beer, wine, liquor, and non-alcoholic beverages, in the state of Illinois, according to its website.
In July, Paul Koerner spoke at a city council meeting, where he discussed his future in Effingham.
“For quite some time, we have identified Effingham as the community we wish to grow in,” said Koerner. “My family and associates have long been here and we are invested in this community.”
Koerner said the beverage distribution company’s research has shown that Effingham is the ideal location for Koerner Distributor to establish its hub.
“With the assistance of Effingham, we will be moving out of our current location at 1305 W. Wabash, to this new location,” said Koerner. “We hope we are here to grow for many years.”
Koerner Distributor has about 10 months of construction work ahead before the business can move from its Wabash location to the corner of Pike Avenue and Raney Street, near The Cross.
The 185,000-square-foot commercial distribution facility will have about 20,000 square feet planned for office space.
“Anytime a local business expands and grows in our community it is a very good testimony to how businesses view this area,” Norma Lansing, Effingham County Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said following the ceremony.
She said through economic development studies it shows that retaining businesses has a greater economic impact, sometimes more so than bringing in a new business can.
“It’s really important to see a business like Koerner Distributor, who really could have chosen another location for their business, but chose to remain in Effingham,” said Lansing. “This is their home. They are invested in not only their business but are also investing in their community.”
Speakers at the formal groundbreaking included Paul Koerner, President, and CEO; Jim Arndt, city administrator; Commissioner Merv Gillenwater; Jim Niemann, Effingham county board chairman; and the Rev. Chris Brey offered a blessing.
Effingham Economic Development Director Todd Hull said Koerner and the city worked together and, as a part of the Tax Increment Financing agreement, Koerner is expected to create up to 35 new jobs and retain the existing 70 jobs.
The addition of the distribution facility means that Effingham enjoys approximately 50 businesses in what is described as a “Business Park,” Hull said. There are also more businesses located around the park and down South Banker Street. Effingham has potential growth in the southern part of the city, as well.
With its main headquarters located in Effingham, it has satellite offices in Carterville, New Baden, and Champaign.
Story by: Dawn Schabbing at email@example.com or 217-347-7151, ext. 138