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Mulch Manufacturer to Locate in Whitley County
Kentucky Ag Connection - 06/14/2017

Sims Bark Co. of Georgia LLC, a provider of mulch, soil, rock products and other landscaping material, will locate a new 21-job manufacturing operation in Whitley County, Gov. Matt Bevin announced Tuesday.

"The new facility by Sims Bark adds to the Commonwealth's thriving timber and forest-products industry while creating sustainable jobs and positive economic impact for Eastern Kentucky," Gov. Bevin said. "Companies like Sims Bark are key players in our mission to bring new financial momentum to the region. I want to personally welcome Sims Bark to Kentucky and look forward to seeing them flourish in Whitley County and beyond. We are grateful for their investment."

Sims Bark will buy a 125,000-square-foot industrial building on approximately 65 acres near Corbin. Company owners plan to begin renovating the facility later this year. The project includes the purchase and setup of equipment for materials processing and bagging.

"Sims Bark is excited about expanding our operations in Kentucky," said Mark Sanders, chief financial officer with Sims Bark. "We are committed to the local community and look forward to creating jobs for the area, while also meeting the growing demand for our quality bagged mulch and soil products. We appreciate the support shown by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and economic development officials we have worked with to make this project a reality."

Founded in 1974, Sims Bark is family owned. It operates two manufacturing facilities in Alabama and one each in Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina. The company processes raw materials, such as bark from sawmills, for use in mulch and soil. Sims Bark distributes throughout the Southeast U.S. and produces more than 150,000 bags of product daily.

Customers include Wal-Mart, Lowe's, The Home Depot and independent chains such as Ace Hardware and Fred's.

Senate President Robert Stivers, of Manchester, thanked the company and the state for working to make the project a reality.

"I am excited to welcome Sims Bark and its new manufacturing facility to Whitley County. The addition of 21 jobs and a $3.8 million investment will be a great boost for the local economy," Sen. Stivers said. I appreciate everyone at Sims Bark and all those in the Bevin administration for their efforts in securing this project in Southeastern Kentucky."

Rep. Regina Bunch, of Williamsburg, said the arrival of Sims Bark brings additional momentum to region's business climate.

"This is fantastic news for Whitley County, as a reputable company like Sims Bark has chosen Southeastern Kentucky as the place to create jobs and do business in our Commonwealth," Rep. Bunch said. "The pro-business direction that our state is moving in is having a direct impact on our economy, increasing much-needed manufacturing jobs and new opportunities for our workers."

Whitley County Judge-Executive Pat White noted the company's strong reputation within its industry.

"I am pleased that Sims Bark has chosen Whitley County as a location for their company. Sims Bark has produced a quality product for more than four decades," Judge-Executive White said. "I'm excited at the possibility of good paying jobs for our citizens and that one of our industrial locations will be repurposed by this company. I look forward to working with Sims Bark in the years to come."

Bruce Carpenter, executive director of the Corbin Economic Development Agency, commended the company for locating in the region.

"On behalf of the Corbin Economic Development Agency, we would like to congratulate and welcome Sims Bark Company to our community. It has been a pleasure to work with company representatives during this process," Carpenter said. "We appreciate their investment and job creation in our region and look forward to their future success."

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in May preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $300,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

In addition, Sims Bark can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal year 2016, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for nearly 95,000 Kentuckians and 5,000 companies from a variety of industry sectors.

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