News & Case Studies

Paper Straw Manufacturer Plans Expansion in Fort Wayne

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Aardvark Straws, a Hoffmaster Group Inc. subsidiary and paper straw manufacturer, announced plans today to expand its Fort Wayne operations, establishing a new, state-of-the-art production facility and creating up to 205 new jobs by the end of 2021.

“It’s encouraging to see continued economic momentum in northeast Indiana from great companies like Aardvark,” Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “Aardvark is an important part of our state’s diversified manufacturing sector, which boasts more than 8,500 facilities across the state. Those manufacturers provide thousands of good, quality jobs for Hoosiers, and those opportunities will continue to grow in the coming years thanks to the dedication of job creators like Aardvark.”

Aardvark is investing more than $9 million to lease and equip a 100,000-square-foot facility at 7310 Innovation Blvd. in Fort Wayne, which will replace Aardvark’s current 2701 South Coliseum Blvd. plant. The new facility will quadruple the company’s footprint and provide the potential to expand again in the future. Since Hoffmaster’s acquisition of Aardvark earlier this year, Hoffmaster has been working to aggressively ramp up Aardvark’s manufacturing capacity in light of the growing demand for viable plastic straw alternatives. With this acquisition, Aardvark is on track to increase production capacity by 700 percent by the end of 2019.

To ensure efficient and increased production, Hoffmaster plans to add more than 100 employees to the Aardvark team by the end of 2018. Aardvark plans to hire straw winders, straw wrappers, material handlers, shipping and receiving, and supervisory positions to support its Fort Wayne growth. Interested applicants can apply online.

“The addition of Aardvark Straws to Hoffmaster’s portfolio of disposable tableware has been a wildly rewarding journey,” said Andy Romjue, president of Hoffmaster’s Foodservice Division. “We get new customer requests every single day, and we’re proud to produce the best paper straw available on the market while battling the world’s plastic crisis. This facility expansion is a strategic move that prepares us to serve current customers and meet the forecasted growth of paper straws. We want to thank the city of Fort Wayne, which has been home to Aardvark’s manufacturing facility for 11 years, and The Hagerman Group for the construction of our new facility.”

“The City of Fort Wayne continues to experience positive investments from the private sector,” said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. “Job growth and innovative economic development opportunities are making Fort Wayne a destination place for businesses. We appreciate the commitment being demonstrated by Hoffmaster.”

Based in Fort Wayne, Aardvark Straws is a division of Hoffmaster, a one-stop source offering a complete line of premium disposable paper tableware items for restaurants, hospitals and a wide variety of other service industries. Hoffmaster, established in 1947, is the platform company for the Hoffmaster Group, Inc. Foodservice Division. Aardvark is the world’s leading brand of paper straws, providing earth- and marine-friendly, naturally degradable, FDA/EU compliant, and compostable products.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered the Hoffmaster Group up to $1,050,000 in conditional tax credits based on Aardvark’s job creation plans. These incentives are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. Northeast Indiana Works will provide the company with additional hiring and training assistance.  Fort Wayne City Council will also consider tax phase-ins for Aardvark’s eligible real and personal property (equipment) investments.

About Hoffmaster®

Hoffmaster® is a one-stop source offering a complete line of premium disposable paper tableware items for restaurants, hospitals, and a wide variety of other service industries.  The Company, established in 1947, is the platform company for the Hoffmaster Group, Inc.® Foodservice Division.

About Aardvark® Straws

Aardvark paper straws were introduced in 2007 in response to a growing anti-plastic movement. Precision Products Group, Inc., created an environmentally friendly straw based off of the original paper straw invented in 1888 by Marvin Stone. Today, Aardvark offers printed straws, cake pop sticks and Eco-Flex paper straws that are earth and marine friendly, naturally degradable, FDA/EU compliant, compostable and made in the USA. For more information, visit www.aardvarkstraws.com.

About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, as its metro chamber alliance and primary point of contact for economic growth. GFW Inc. focuses on prosperity and community vibrancy through economic development, advocacy, programs and resources that support business success, leadership development, graduate retention and community engagement. GFW Inc. worked with state and local partners to assist Aardvark with its expansion plans. In 2018, GFW Inc. has assisted 31 businesses in expansions or relocations in Allen County, resulting in a total of 2,305 projected new jobs, more than $104 million in new annual payroll, and more than $331 million in new investment.