Economic Development News

Jefferson City area hits a homerun
Business Attraction projects in 2013
Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
By: Missy Bonnot, Director, Economic Development

Many times when we talk about Business Attraction we talk about baseball, and this time of year certainly seems appropriate for that!

The process of business attraction is a bit like a baseball game.  You have “at-bats” with pitches, strikes, and balls.  Sometimes you get on base, sometimes you get thrown out, but hitting a homerun is a rare occurrence. 

A big difference between baseball and business attraction, however, is our community is not playing against just one other community but 10,000 economic development organizations!

In 2013 we had a fair amount of “at bats”.  In fact, we worked 24 business attraction projects which is less than we worked in 2012 but the second largest amount since 2007. Those projects represented many different industry sectors.   Projects come in many shapes and sizes, some look for an existing building while others prefer to build their own building. 

One particular project we worked in 2013 initially came to Jefferson City looking for an existing building.  The company had specific needs but potentially thought the 50,000 square foot spec building might fit their criteria.   After touring the facility they determined the building was not going to work for their particular operation.  However, the Chamber owned 25 acres just east of the spec building between Alpla and Scholastic off of Algoa Road that the company was interested in.  The name of the company is Morris Converting and they are locating to Jefferson City to manufacture packaging for the food industry and plan to create 27 jobs and invest $3 million in a two year period.  They purchased 9.16 acres of land to construct the 32,000 square foot facility. 

Since making this announcement last fall, Morris Converting has been hard at work to construct the customized building in the Partnership Business Park and to set up their operation in a temporary facility off of Missouri Boulevard. Currently they employ 14 people and are manufacturing 72,000 units per day.

“The quality of workforce and the individuals we have hired have been outstanding!” says Jim Morris, President of Morris Converting “The majority of our new staff are former R.R. Donnelley employees and they came to us highly skilled and highly trained.  We were able to transfer their skills to our production process and hit the ground running.  We couldn’t be happier with our team.”  

“This project will have a great economic impact on Jefferson City and the surrounding Mid-Missouri area, “ says Bob Gilbert,  Chairman of the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce. “Morris Converting is a big win for our community and will help diversify our manufacturing base as well as the skills of our workforce-- making central Missouri even more attractive to growing businesses.”

Morris Converting looked at many communities in several states before selecting Jefferson City as their new home.  The company’s decision to locate to Jefferson City was influenced by Missouri’s competitive business climate and a closer proximity to customers in Missouri and surrounding states. Morris Converting hopes to be in the new state of art facility in late summer. 

Attraction Projects 2007-2013

Business Attraction is a long and very competitive process.  It takes years to develop a lead and for that lead to turn into a project and hopefully, turn into a new business location.  The Chamber owns and develops land in the Partnership Business Park as a part of its ongoing economic development program to acquire, develop and offer industrial sites for sale to companies who provide new jobs and investment in the community. Other companies that have taken advantage of this program in recent years in the Partnership Business Park include Scholastic, Modern Litho-Print Company, Alpla, Inc., Command Web and Fabick.

Since 2006, the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce has spent over $4 Million dollars of its own resources to acquire property, develop road access, provide utilities and make sites certified for industrial development. The Chamber has provided these development land parcels below market value as an economic development incentive to companies that create jobs and capital investment in our community.

We welcome Morris Converting to Jefferson City and look forward to following their success!   

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