Rumors have floated around Starke County for the past few weeks that construction of the Sysco plant near Hamlet is about to become a reality. Starke County Economic Development Director, Charles Weaver, cautions that he has not received any information that supports those rumors.
“Nothing official has changed,” said Weaver. “There has been no decision by the administration or management of Sysco Corporation regarding the construction of the Baugh North Central Redistribution Cooperative here in Starke County.”
Even though the management has not indicated they have specific plans to “pull the trigger” on the project, Weaver said that he has had ongoing discussions with the construction arm of the company over the past six years.
“We continue to meet with various persons in the construction arm of Sysco and other administrative levels who keep assuring us that yes, this is going to happen. While they may have beliefs that it is going to be sooner than later, we also have to temper anything that we hear on experience. Twice before Sysco has said they pulled the trigger and they were going to construct. If you remember at one time, there were even bids going out and that never happened. So, until we have some official word that there’s a contract signed with a General Contractor, we’re not going to say much. And in fact, there has been no such thing. At present, there are no bids, proposals or RFPs being sent out to General Contractors so we have to wait to see what happens there. Do I remain hopeful? Absolutely.”
Since the announcement six years ago that the Baugh North Central Redistribution Center had chosen the Hamlet site for construction, governmental officials and potential employees have patiently waited for news of the actual construction. Two years ago, hopes were heightened with the groundbreaking of the infrastructure that would serve the Hamlet West Industrial area, but because of the stagnant economy, Sysco officials continued to service the Midwest through existing centers.