$3.5 million incentive helps keep family business in Antioch
A third generation family business will stay in Antioch and expand in a new facility with the help of a $3.5 million village incentive.
The agreement, unanimously approved last week by village trustees, ensures Fischer Paper Products Inc., which was founded and began operating in Antioch in 1972, will remain a corporate resident for decades.
It also represents a win for the border town and Lake County in the tug of war with Wisconsin over new and expanding business.
"My goal above all else is to see us become a fourth generation business," said Josh Fischer, president/owner. "It's time to keep moving forward."
Fischer makes and distributes paper products, including specialty bags, wraps, liners, napkin rings and other items for restaurants and food services. After moving from across the street, the company headquarters has remained at 179 Ida Ave. since 1979.
As growth continued in recent years, Fischer opened a warehouse in Waukegan. Together, the facilities are about 115,000 square feet and employ about 95, with all but about a dozen in Antioch.
Growth continues and consolidation has been on the table for awhile, Fischer said.
"For a couple of years, I would have bet on Wisconsin as the landing place," Fischer said.
Working with Lake County Partners, the county's development arm, the village structured a package to keep the company in town.
"We thought it was going to be a real challenge to keep them here," said Michael Garrigan, Antioch's community development director. "It's a substantial investment they're making -- it's a major, major investment."
The agreement calls for the village to provide a not-to-exceed amount of $3.5 million in property tax rebates during about a 10-year period. Fischer will buy nearly 17 acres and build a 165,000-square-foot facility -- with room to expand to 300,000 square feet -- in a $34.75 million project at the Antioch Corporate Center.
Lake County won't provide financial help but its deep labor force was a game changer, according to Kevin Considine, president & CEO of Lake County Partners.
"Workforce is really driving things now," he said. "Talent is easily everybody's most difficult challenge."
In 2009, the village designated the area on Route 173 east of Route 45 as a tax increment financing district to develop the Antioch Corporate Center. Under that mechanism, taxes that would be paid to local governments as property values increase because of development instead are directed to a special fund to pay for eligible infrastructure-related projects in the designated area.
Fischer said the company will break ground by winter and be operating in its new location in summer 2020.
In April 2018, Antioch approved an agreement to provide Handi-foil Corporation, a privately-owned manufacturer of aluminum products, with up to $15 million in TIF funds for an $82 million facility in Antioch Corporate Center.