With support from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, a local employer in Plattsmouth is achieving its vision to expand and create jobs.
A subsidiary of Tennessee-based Vireo Systems, Vireo Resources, LLC has operated in Plattsmouth since 2008, where it packages nutraceuticals for human and pet health and nutrition. Some of its products include a popular line of sports nutrition that can be found in marketplaces like Amazon, Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, and soon, Wal-Mart.
Now — thanks in part to $1 million in CDBG funding awarded to the City of Plattsmouth by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development — Vireo is building a second, 32,000 square foot facility adjacent to its current plant that will allow it to become the first manufacturer in the nation of the supplement creatine; more specifically, the company will produce the highly soluble, bioavailable and patented form, creatine hydrochloride, under its “CON-CRĒT®” line of products, which it developed alongside researchers at the University of Nebraska.
Danial Sohn, Director of Finance and Operations for Vireo, says a long and productive relationship between Vireo and the City of Plattsmouth has been key to helping his company bring its expansion plans, which have been years in the making, to fruition.
“The City and a local financial institution, Citizens State Bank, were instrumental in helping us line up all the resources we needed to move forward,” Sohn said, noting that NEDCO, a lender known for its work supporting Nebraska small businesses, also played a major role by helping the company secure a federal loan.
Thanks to the CDBG program, Sohn said, Vireo Resources will be able to offset some of the millions in high-tech equipment costs associated with its new production line. In the process, it will almost immediately be able to create about 30 new jobs, over half of which will benefit residents at or below the median area income, per a CDBG national objective.
In a display of collaboration, Vireo’s CDBG funding originated as a grant from DED to the City of Plattsmouth. MAPA Foundation, the local Nonprofit Development Organization, then performed as a subgrantee, loaning the funds to Vireo Resources for working capital and equipment purchases. Half of the loan will be forgivable once Vireo’s CDBG job requirement is met, while the other half will be repaid at zero percent interest. MAPA will be able to reinvest the repaid funds into other impactful economic development projects in its service area.
Erv Portis, Plattsmouth City Administrator, has maintained a working relationship with Vireo leadership since he and now-Mayor Paul Lambert helped recruit the company in 2008. In past months, he’s been a key liaison in helping Vireo obtain industrial land and utilities access to support its new expansion, harnessing Plattsmouth’s economic development business incentives as a tool. Portis says community leaders and residents alike are excited to see a respected local employer grow and generate new opportunities that will benefit Plattsmouth residents.
“These jobs represent wealth and disposable income that will come into Plattsmouth and contribute to our commercial activity, schools and housing,” he said. “It’s the potential for almost three dozen people to not have to commute to work. It means a lot of good things for our community’s future.”
Portis credited the Nebraska Department of Transportation for its support in administering a grant through the Economic Opportunity Program, which has financed the construction of a road leading to the facility.
“This project is a great example of separate entities coming together and combining their resources and areas of expertise to make something big happen for the community,” he said.
Sohn says the new facility is slated to be up and running as early as next May or June, which means hiring will most likely begin in the spring.
“This is really just the beginning,” he said. “Right now the equipment we are buying is for one new product line. We have space in our new facility for four lines. We’re incredibly excited to be growing here in Plattsmouth. There’s a lot of potential for the future.”
To learn more about the CDBG program, visit opportunity.nebraska.gov.