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25 news jobs planned for Urbana

Robert Rothschild Farm gets state tax credit to help land additional work.

Robert Rothschild Farm, an Urbana company that’s been in business since the 1970s, plans to add $1.2 million in payroll and 25 new full-time jobs.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority this week approved a 40 percent, five-year tax credit for the specialty food products company, which has considered moving to Indiana.

The company has grown in the last two years and needs to expand its facilities in order to meet demand, said Jim Gordon, president and CEO of the company. As part of the agreement for the tax credit, the state would require the company to maintain its operations at its current location just outside Urbana for at least eight years.

“For a county that’s very strong in agriculture, we’re very proud of our Champaign County presence,” Gordon said.

The new jobs and additional $1.2 million in annual payroll would be added within the next three years. The tax credit would also help the company maintain as much as $3.2 million in its existing payroll for the duration of the credit. The jobs created would include positions in operations, administrative support, research and development and human resources.

In addition, the company can claim the tax credit for additional income tax revenue generated as a result of the expansion.

The business began when Robert and Sara Rothschild moved onto a 170-acre farm in 1976. Just a few years later, they began selling raspberry preserves and eventually began selling other specialty food products. The site now houses a 51,000 square foot facility that produces dips, mustard, sauces, preserves and dry mixes, among other products. The proposal would include an expansion at the company’s manufacturing and headquarters, according to information from the state. That would include purchasing new machinery and equipment, along with improvements to infrastructure.

The company employs 52 full-time workers, said Gordon. But if temporary employees who are typically hired during the company’s busy season are included, that number can swell at times to 80.

The company is a significant employer for the county, said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for Urbana. Discussion of the tax credit has been in the works for several months, she said, and the city submitted a brief letter of support to the Ohio Department of Development earlier this month.

“It’s another boost in our economic situation with the new jobs that will be created at Robert Rothschild’s,” Bailey said.

The company already produces as many as 250 products and will probably expand to as many as 300 as early as this year, Gordon said.

“We are at a point where we need to expand to accommodate that growth,” he said.

According to information from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority, the tax credit is considered a significant factor in the company’’s decision to remain in Ohio, as Indiana was also competing for the proposed project. The tax credit is expected to help move the project forward in Ohio.

In Clark and Champaign County, the company’s products are sold at numerous businesses.

Ty Wagner, general manager at Mike and Rosy’s Deli, 330 W. McCreight Ave., Springfield, said the restaurant has been selling Robert Rothschild Farm products for more than a decade. His father, who started the deli, developed a good relationship with the Urbana company early on.

“I’ve been here for 13 years, and it’s been a staple as long as I can remember,” Wagner said.

Robert Rothschild has always had an exceptional reputation locally, Gordon said.

“What we’ve been charged with is continuing down the path that he paved,” Gordon said.

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