Orgill picks Sikeston over Vandalia

Vandalia officials learned late Wednesday that their efforts to retain jobs at the local Orgill facility and procure more jobs at a new company facility were unsuccessful.

Vandalia Mayor Rick Gottman and Orgill President Ron Beal both issued press releases confirming that Orgill had chosen Sikeston, Mo., as the home for a Mid-America SuperCenter.

Vandalia and Sikeston were the finalists for the new distribution center that will reportedly employ about 350 people.

Orgill officials said Wednesday that the new 795,000-square-foot facility will be built on a 70-acre site.

The construction of that center will mean the closure of Orgills facilities in Vandalia, which employs about 110 people, and Memphis, Tenn., which has abut 160 employees.

In making the announcement on the selection of Sikeston, Beal cited the age of the Vandalia (45 years old) and Memphis (54 years old) facilities as being a factor in the decision to build a new distribution center.

Frankly, our facilities in Memphis and Vandalia have become inefficient and outdated, Beal said.

This new facility not only will allow us to improve customer service, it also represents potential fuel savings of more than $1 million annually, Beal said, explaining that the Sikeston location ‘much better matched both Orgill’s present and future distribution needs.’

Gottman feels that despite being unsuccessful in its efforts to land the new facility, Vandalia with help from state legislators and other state officials put its best foot forward.

I feel that the city, working within the laws of this state and what we could offer locally, did absolutely everything we could, Gottman said.

After hearing in June a rumor that Orgill had chosen Sikeston for its new center, Gottman contacted state Sen. Frank Watson (R-Greenville).

Watson, the Illinois Senate minority leader, immediately contacted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, to see if the state could help enhance a new incentives package. Blagojevich referred Watson to his chief of staff.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity also got involved in the effort, as did state Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Greenville) and state Rep. Tom Cross (R-Plainfield), the Illinois House minority leader.

Together, they assembled a package that Randy Williams, Orgills senior vice president for logistics, termed on Wednesday as being very competitive.

The city of Vandalia did everything they could to retain the operation in Vandalia, he said. This is not a reflection on the city of Vandalia or the work force there.

Gottman and Vandalia Director of Economic Development and Tourism JoAnn Givens said they are saddened by what the loss of Orgill means to the companys local employees and to the community.

This is a deep loss for our community, Givens said.

Gottman said, Orgill has been a valued business partner in the community, and our heartfelt concern and continued support goes out to the employees at the local distribution center.

While we knew all along that there was a possibility that they would choose Sikeston, I held out hope that they would pick Vandalia, and we felt good with what we had to offer, including a very strong package of incentives and a strong work force that has served that company very well, Gottman said.

Gottman and Givens said they now will place increased emphasis on luring new businesses and industries to Vandalia.

We have other prospects that we are working on, excellent incentive programs and committed citizens, and we will carry on our efforts to grow the city, Givens said.

Gottman said Williams has pledged support from Orgill in trying to help ease the loss of the distribution center.

Randy said they would work with us on filling that building, Gottman said.

Construction on the new Orgill distribution center is scheduled to being next month, with a proposed completion in August of next year.

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