Headquarters to move into former school
By Abbey DoyleThe Herald Bulletin
ORESTES, Ind. — Red Gold is planning to invest $3.5 million to convert Elwood’s
former Oakland Elementary School into the company’s corporate office,
company officials said Wednesday.
“It promises to be a win-win for the entire community and the company,
allowing us to continue our excellent local partnership in Madison County,
and especially the town of Elwood,” Red Gold President and CEO Brian
Reichart said. “Having all of our corporate office employees in one
building in this new Elwood location will be tremendous for all of our
employees and will improve our continuous improvement initiatives.”
Red Gold will reconfigure the school to be a state-of-the-art corporate
headquarters, said Tim Ingle, director of human resources at Red Gold. The
existing structure will remain intact; however, the classrooms will be
retro-fitted into office space.
“The office will be more modern and Brian (Reichart) will put a lot of
thought into the layout to improve the flow and efficiency within the
corporate office,” Ingle said.
Elwood Community Schools Superintendent Glen Nelson said the one-story
structure — built in phases beginning in 1956 — was recently sold during
an auction for $550,000 to Red Gold.
“We are very pleased,” Nelson said. “We were pleased we were able to sell
the school and even more pleased that a company like Red Gold elected to
invest in the school and, even more importantly, in the community here.
Red Gold has always been a great supporter of Elwood.”
The fact that the school brought more than half a million dollars to the
school corporation — which will be used to help pay down debt — was
amazing in a time where other schools in Madison and Delaware counties
aren’t able to be sold at all or are selling for less than $40,000, Nelson
He pointed out that not only does Reichart live in the Elwood community
but he also attended Oakland, which Nelson thinks played a big factor in
his decision to invest in the school and community.
The structure is nearly 7,000 square feet and sits on a little more than
10 acres of land. After the initial construction there were additions in
1961 and 2003 and several renovations before closing last year.
“Red Gold continually re-invests in our facilities, equipment, technology
and our employees … and that is what we have always done,” Reichart
said. “Our new Red Gold corporate office is only a part of a multi-year
plan to position the company for additional future growth.”
The move is expected to happen sometime within the next year. The
additional office space will allow the company to reconfigure interior
space at its Orestes plant location to allow for future manufacturing
growth, according to a press release from the company.
Bill Savage, Elwood economic development director, said the announcement
is great for the city. Not only will it put the property back on the tax
rolls, it is great for the city’s growth in general.
“This is going to bring the corporate headquarters right into Elwood,”
Savage said. “It means we will have 200 professional Red Gold staff
members now located in the city. That should be a huge boost for the local
economy with people eating lunch here, spending money here and possibly
even getting some of the staff to build houses here in areas like our new
Cattail Estates development.”
Last year, Red Gold invested more than $20 million to keep pace with the
company’s growing demand, Reichart said, including an investment in the
Orestes plant with a new high-speed canned tomato line and additional
equipment to increase the entire plant’s output. Red Gold’s Elwood plant
is currently midway through a major addition of its production and
packaging equipment, including an additional state-of-the-art, high-speed
ketchup bottling line that will be ready for production in mid-August.
Ingle said the company’s full-time employment has nearly doubled and as
surpassed 1,300 employees with diverse careers and opportunities in
advanced food manufacturing.