Continental Mills made official Tuesday its arrival into Effingham as city and county officials welcomed the food product company.
It is a welcome that has been months in the making after Continental Mills finalized its deal with Harlan Bakeries late last year, assuming ownership of the Effingham plant, which is located in the city's business park.
Since that time, the company has invested more than $2 million into the facility, replacing roofing and updating IT infrastructure.
The Seattle-based company currently has 15 employees at the Effingham location, 13 of which are former Harlan Bakeries employees.
Although the plant will process some products from its Hopkinsville, Kentucky, plant, as well as doughnut products from Harlan Bakeries, Senior Vice President of Operations Mike Meredith estimates much of the Effingham plant's business will come from new growth that will in turn lead to additional employees.
"The number of new hires will be tied to the growth of the business," he said.
Mayor Merv Gillenwater noted how Continental Mills took an underutilized plant and turned it into a modern productive facility, bucking the perception of business climate in the state.
"You often hear how Illinois is unfriendly to business and how business is leaving Illinois," he said. "We are proud you chose Effingham for your business."
Meredith said it was the company's close relationship with neighboring Siemer Milling plant in Kentucky that drew the company to Effingham.
"It's a big reason in choosing to come here," he said.
Continental produces name-brand products, including Krusteaz, Wildroots and Ghirardelli.