French Bakery Products Company to Be Featured at LVEDC Annual Meeting
By Colin McEvoy on March 7, 2016
The French bakery products company building its first American manufacturing facility in the Lehigh Valley will be among the featured presentations at the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation‘s (LVEDC) 2016 Annual Meeting.
Norac, a manufacturer of natural bakery snacks that employs more than 3,700 worldwide, plans to build a 79,160 square-foot facility at 4200 Braden Blvd. in Forks Township, establishing 62 new jobs over the next three years.
Julien Caron, president of the subsidiary Norac Group USA, will be a featured speaker at LVEDC’s 2016 Annual Meeting, which will be held March 22 at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. Attendance is free, but registration is required.
“The Lehigh Valley has been experiencing a growing trend of overseas companies choosing the Lehigh Valley as their entry point for the Northeastern U.S. market, so in many ways, Norac is the perfect company for us to highlight at our annual meeting,” said LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham. “We’re very pleased that Norac has chosen to build its first American facility right here in the Lehigh Valley.”
Plans for Norac’s new facility were announced March 4 by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team in collaboration with LVEDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development‘s (DCED) Office of International Business Development (OIBD).
“The collaborative efforts of the Governor’s Action Team, the Pennsylvania Office of International Business Development and our local economic development partner Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation exemplify that we can have a government that works on all levels,” Wolf said.
Cunningham agreed that Norac is an excellent example of the important partnership between the state and LVEDC when it comes to international business recruitment. LVEDC and DCED officials embarked on a business development tour through Western Europe last summer to attract foreign direct investment, or companies abroad locating within the United States.
“We’re seeing now that the results of that tour are bearing fruit,” Cunningham said. “International recruitment has long been a priority for Pennsylvania, and the OIBD has the largest network of overseas offices of any other state.”
J.G. Petrucci Inc. was also heavily involved with the project and provided the site, flexibility, and expertise that was integral in the bringing Norac to the Lehigh Valley.
Under the brand Bakerly, Norac USA is introducing a natural alternative to traditional bakery snacks for supermarkets across the United States, featuring delicious French inspired recipes with no preservatives and no additives. Its product line includes chocolate and strawberry filled crepes, chocolate croissants, mini-brioches with chocolate chips, and more.
Norac USA received a funding proposal from DCED that includes a $186,000 Pennsylvania First program grant, $124,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits, and $27,900 in WEDnetPA funding for employee training, according to the state. The company was also encouraged to apply for a $2.4 million low-interest loan including $1 million from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority.
The Lehigh Valley has been experiencing a growing trend of foreign direct investment in recent years. Eight of the Lehigh Valley’s 19 major business attraction/expansion projects last year, or 42 percent, were from international companies.
In addition to Norac, they include Safran, a French aerospace company that established a wheel and brake repair facility in Lower Nazareth; Primark, an Irish fashion retailer that built a distribution center in Bethlehem; Fuling Plastics, a plastic flatware manufacturer that built its first American facility in Upper Macungie; and Nihon Kohden, a Japanese medical device manufacturer that opened a facility in South Whitehall.
“Internationally-based companies are often most comfortable finding a place in the American market in proximity to companies from their home countries,” Cunningham said. “The Lehigh Valley’s location on the East Coast, proximity to New York City, and availability of talent and technical support from professors at places like Lehigh University and Lafayette College are attractive assets.
Additionally, food and beverage processing has been identified as one of the Lehigh Valley’s four targeted industries based on our unique mix of economic assets. This includes our central location, well-developed transportation infrastructure, agricultural products for food processing, and the availability of water and sewer capacity lines.
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