The Herald Bulletin

September 5, 2013

Editorial: Harvest, Warner Bodies bring good news to county


The Herald Bulletin

---- — Madison County needs jobs. We need new jobs, and we need to keep the ones we have.

Jobs are critical for any community, but the need is particularly intense when the county’s unemployment rate (9.7 in July) exceeds that of the state (8.3) and country (7.7). Our county’s rate was the 16th worst (of 92 counties) in Indiana in July.

The community has gotten several boosts of economic development in recent months. Two were in the news last week:

◆ Harvest Supermarkets has reinvested in Anderson by relocating its headquarters to 915 Jackson St.

◆ Elwood finalized its agreement with Warner Bodies to relocate its headquarters and a manufacturing facility in the city.

Harvest has been a favorite of many local consumers since Larry Vores opened his first store in 1976. The privately owned supermarket chain puts about 300 people to work with seven locations in Madison County, two in Henry County and one in Decatur County.

The new headquarters location in downtown Anderson has an attractive sign out front, symbolizing the company’s commitment to the community. To keep Harvest thriving in a competitive environment, Chief Operating Officer Allison Vores recently appointed a new CEO and filled three corporate positions that had been open.

The jobs Harvest provides are important to Madison County, and the stores themselves are important in giving consumers additional choices for grocery shopping and other needs.

Over in Elwood, Mayor Ron Arnold and other community leaders gathered in late August to sign paperwork to bring Warner Bodies to the city. The new headquarters in Elwood will, prospectively, employ 150 people within five years. About 60 of those jobs will be taken by employees at the current Noblesville headquarters and manufacturing center.

The Elwood facility is expected to be operational by January.

Elwood enticed Warner Bodies with a 10-year tax abatement on $4 million worth of new equipment to be brought in. The city is accepting applications on behalf of Warner, which manufactures truck bodies, and has received more than 1,000 already.

That speaks to the need for jobs in Elwood, which has been hit hard by plant closings over the past few decades. The community’s population shrank from 9,737 in 2000 to 8,600 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census.

While the Warner Bodies news out of Elwood and the Harvest Supermarkets news out of Anderson are not earth-shaking, they are examples of small but significant gains that help sustain the community.

In summary While the Warner Bodies news out of Elwood and the Harvest Supermarkets news out of Anderson are not earth-shaking, they are examples of significant gains that help sustain the community.