A Middletown building with a revered past will soon be site of a brighter economic future for northwestern Henry County.
At the New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corp. March meeting, board members learned that the second-largest community will be the new home for BCW Supplies, an Anderson company wanting to consolidate its operations.
BCW is a manufacturer of products to protect, store, and display collectibles, is moving its headquarters to the former Liebhardt-Mills building. This Middletown site was previously a Down Lite pillow factory, and the Liebhardt Woolen Mills before that.
Murphy said the EDC was supportive of a three-year tax abatement incentive for BCW Supplies, which wants to purchase and expand the facility on State Road 236. The Middletown Town Council approved that tax abatement request at its Tuesday night meeting.
“The company serves the hobby industry distributors, retailers and at times will ship directly to customers,” Murphy said. “The company has two locations in Anderson and needs to consolidate into one facility for operational efficiencies and future growth.”
Murphy said if the three-year tax abatement is approved, as many as 46 existing jobs would transfer to Middletown from Anderson locations. Additionally, 31 new jobs at the facility are projected by 2025. Murphy added the average wage of these jobs is in the $16 per hour range.
BCW currently has two warehouses in Anderson. The main warehouse and office is on 31st Street, and the second warehouse on North Broadway is a former supermarket. BCW has been growing steadily over the past few years, and increased product demand during the pandemic made the need for a larger warehouse a necessity.
Company officials said with a strong workforce, Anderson has been an “excellent” home to BCW since the company was founded 40 years ago. The tough decision to move was based upon the perfect fit with the available Middletown facility.
The Middletown community can expect BCW Supplies to be a good neighbor. BCW normally works a traditional business week, with a few large trucks coming and going throughout the day. BCW employs 50 members currently, and expects to grow with the larger headquarters. Job opportunities are listed at https://www.bcwsupplies.com/ careers as they become available.
21st century talent
In recent months, it seems the availability of workers has become a big if not bigger issue than the availability of jobs. With that in mind, Henry County is a part of 21st Century Talent Region, a statewide designation awarded to Indiana communities focused on working collaboratively to attract, develop and connect talent.
“This is important long-term work necessary for community prosperity,” Murphy said.
A PowerPoint presentation for EDC board members revealed East Central Indiana Talent Collaborative has set sights high, aiming to:
leverage Quality of Place assets to reverse negative population resulting in a net 0 percent population change by 2030;
mobilize our learning system to increase educational attainment to 35 percent by 2025; and
build upon equitable economic opportunities to boost median household income and earnings to $49,530 by 2025.
In order to accomplish this, four regional goals have been set with a target date of 2022.
Increasing integration of East Central Indiana’s Forge Your Path lifestyle marketing initiative across stakeholder marketing and talent attraction efforts by December 2021.
Establishing regional coalitions to develop plans to increase achievement in early childhood, K-8, high school, and adult/higher education by December 2021.
Laying the groundwork for industry-specific networks to participate in regional implementation plan and develop talent pipelines in manufacturing, trades, education, healthcare, and technology by early 2022.
Defining and prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all talent attraction, development, and connection efforts through and beyond 2022.
More information about the talent collaborative will be forthcoming in future EDC board meetings.