Crowd welcomes owners of new jerky plant

econdev@nppd.com   9/24/2012

The 32,000-square-foot facility will employ more than 20 people and will turn Nebraska-grown beef and pork into Asian-style jerky and sausage.

Welcome to the valley.

That comment was echoed numerous times Friday morning during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Western Nebraska Regional Airport Industrial Park celebrating the completion of a new jerky processing plant.

KYS Foods showcased their new facility with a brief public tour and commemorated the completion with a Scottsbluff-Gering United Chamber of Commerce ceremony. Close to 150 people attended with numerous speakers, including Sen. John Harms, Twin Cities Development board members, area bank officials, along with project and LB840 committee representatives.

Company President KaiYen Mai’s family flew in from Taiwan for the event.

The company opted to postpone the event and moved it from its original date of Aug. 31 to Friday, allowing the plant to be closer to operational status. Originally, Gov. Dave Heineman and Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy had been tapped to join the town in welcoming the business, but the date change did not work for either of their schedules.

The 32,000-square-foot facility will employ more than 20 people and will turn Nebraska-grown beef and pork into Asian-style jerky and sausage. Company president KaiYen Mai said only a few finishing touches are happening on the building’s interior and everything is on schedule for production to begin in the next couple weeks.

“I’m really happy to be at this point and this close to production,” Mai said. “It’s been a long process.”

Mai began hiring in late July and into August with training shortly after to get the facility ready for operation, Mai said. Plant manager, Larry Miley was hired locally. Mai said she was looking to hire devoted workers that would support the company long-term.

“We’ve been open for more than 30 years and we plan to stay here for at least another 30 years,” Mai said.

The San Francisco-based company decided to move out of California and seek a new or existing facility for its jerky processing plant elsewhere because of rising operating costs in California. Mai said the move will save money because it puts the plant closer to its meat supplies. Also, Nebraska production costs will be significantly lower than those in California.

The company selected Scottsbluff from a list of 13 communities. Mai and KYS Foods chief financial officer Saiho visited Scottsbluff three times, spending a few hours and an overnight stay during the visits.

The Mai family made a conscious effort to choose the right community. It took 414 days to bring the company to Scottsbluff.

Sheryl Hiatt from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development said now that KYS Foods is here, the community is sure to support KYS Foods in future business efforts.

“It’s all about relationships and finding the right place. It’s very exciting to have new jobs and a new product,” Hiatt said. “They want to expand their business and I think this is the place to do it.”

Once the decision was made, the long application process for funding and incentives began. The company pursued state funds and incentives to help finance the facility. Ultimately, bank loans, $505,000 in federal grant funding and $360,000 in local incentives assisted in funding the project, which cost around $4 million.

Incentives offered by the state and local governments were some of the main motivations for choosing the Panhandle, Mai said. Also, project developer Irvin Rushall indicated he could build a plant within the company’s budget and Scotts Bluff County donated a small plot of land to be used for water runoff and a truck turnaround.

Mai said she was grateful for the community’s support through the many years of work it took to bring her company to Scottsbluff.

“I want to thank everyone that was involved,” Mai said. “I hope KYS Foods will be a company that can grow and prosper here.”

Welcome to the valley.

That comment was echoed numerous times Friday morning during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Western Nebraska Regional Airport Industrial Park celebrating the completion of a new jerky processing plant.

KYS Foods showcased their new facility with a brief public tour and commemorated the completion with a Scottsbluff-Gering United Chamber of Commerce ceremony. Close to 150 people attended with numerous speakers, including Sen. John Harms, Twin Cities Development board members, area bank officials, along with project and LB840 committee representatives.

Company President KaiYen Mai’s family flew in from Taiwan for the event.

The company opted to postpone the event and moved it from its original date of Aug. 31 to Friday, allowing the plant to be closer to operational status. Originally, Gov. Dave Heineman and Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy had been tapped to join the town in welcoming the business, but the date change did not work for either of their schedules.

The 32,000-square-foot facility will employ more than 20 people and will turn Nebraska-grown beef and pork into Asian-style jerky and sausage. Company president KaiYen Mai said only a few finishing touches are happening on the building’s interior and everything is on schedule for production to begin in the next couple weeks.

“I’m really happy to be at this point and this close to production,” Mai said. “It’s been a long process.”

Mai began hiring in late July and into August with training shortly after to get the facility ready for operation, Mai said. Plant manager, Larry Miley was hired locally. Mai said she was looking to hire devoted workers that would support the company long-term.

“We’ve been open for more than 30 years and we plan to stay here for at least another 30 years,” Mai said.

The San Francisco-based company decided to move out of California and seek a new or existing facility for its jerky processing plant elsewhere because of rising operating costs in California. Mai said the move will save money because it puts the plant closer to its meat supplies. Also, Nebraska production costs will be significantly lower than those in California.

The company selected Scottsbluff from a list of 13 communities. Mai and KYS Foods chief financial officer Saiho visited Scottsbluff three times, spending a few hours and an overnight stay during the visits.

The Mai family made a conscious effort to choose the right community. It took 414 days to bring the company to Scottsbluff.

Sheryl Hiatt from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development said now that KYS Foods is here, the community is sure to support KYS Foods in future business efforts.

“It’s all about relationships and finding the right place. It’s very exciting to have new jobs and a new product,” Hiatt said. “They want to expand their business and I think this is the place to do it.”

Once the decision was made, the long application process for funding and incentives began. The company pursued state funds and incentives to help finance the facility. Ultimately, bank loans, $505,000 in federal grant funding and $360,000 in local incentives assisted in funding the project, which cost around $4 million.

Incentives offered by the state and local governments were some of the main motivations for choosing the Panhandle, Mai said. Also, project developer Irvin Rushall indicated he could build a plant within the company’s budget and Scotts Bluff County donated a small plot of land to be used for water runoff and a truck turnaround.

Mai said she was grateful for the community’s support through the many years of work it took to bring her company to Scottsbluff.

“I want to thank everyone that was involved,” Mai said. “I hope KYS Foods will be a company that can grow and prosper here.”

Full article @

http://www.starherald.com/news/local_news/crowd-welcomes-owners-of-new-jerky-plant/article_a94f9728-045f-11e2-b024-0019bb2963f4.html

 
Source: BRANDON NELSON Staff Reporter, www.starherald.com
 

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