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JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A popular pretzel company in Perry County has relocated operations. Our partners at WEHT-TV report Tell City Pretzel has moved its production and retail facility to Jasper, the home of owners Brad and Sandy Smith.

The Smiths, who bought the company after it went out of business in 2009, originally purchased the location in Jasper more than a year ago to use as a storage facility. But Brad Smith says the time was right to relocate everything to the Dubois County city.

“I’m 60 years old, I’m spending anywhere from 15-20 hours on the road a week that I could be giving to the business,” Smith told WEHT. “So, we thought now’s the time to do it.”

Smith says two main factors went into the decision to relocate.

“The pretzel, what’s best for it and the company to make sure that it stays strong and the pretzel stays as popular as it is,” he said. “Number two is the employees. [I wanted to] make sure that they had options. Some of them came with me; some of them retired. Those were the two big issues I had.”

Smith says the new retail location will be set up like a brewery or distillery where you can see the pretzels being made. The company also plans to offer tours of the facility.

He adds residents in Tell City will still be able to buy the popular pretzels and he has no plans to change the name of the brand.

DUBOIS COUNTY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A second turkey farm in Dubois County could possibly be dealing with another case of avian influenza. The Indiana State Board of Animal Health says the farm is in close proximity to the initial farm that was diagnosed with a confirmed case of a highly pathogenic strain of the flu earlier this month.

The BOAH is considering the case at the second farm to be a presumptive-positive case and samples are currently being verified at the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa.

The agency says the pending test results should indicate if the virus is the same as the first farm and if it is also highly pathogenic.

The second farm, which is already under quarantine because of its proximity to the first, has more than 26,000 turkeys. The BOAH says the flock was tested after the owner noticed the birds weren’t drinking as much water, which is a “clinical sign of avian influenza.”

The BOAH says because of the second farm’s location, the previously-established 10-kilometer control area will not be extended. However, the agency has established a surveillance zone around the control area to allow for additional monitoring, though commercial poultry operations in that zone will not be forced to quarantine and will be tested at less-frequent intervals.

JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Jasper-based Kimball International Inc. (Nasdaq: KBAL) is reporting a fiscal second quarter net loss of $21.3 million, compared to an $838,000 loss during the same period a year ago. The manufacturer of office, home and hospital furniture says supply chain challenges, especially for its Poppin brand, created inventory problems.

The company says the industry is also facing labor issues that have increased costs and constrained its ability to produce and ship.

Chief Executive Officer Kristie Juster says overall demand for Kimball products were strong in Q2, driving double-digit, year-on-year revenue growth.

“Order rates continued to be robust, driving record backlog levels, which support our expectations for strong second half performance and underpin our confidence in our full year guidance,” said Juster. “We reaffirm our fiscal 2022 guidance for 15-20% revenue growth with adjusted gross margin in the third quarter similar to first half levels, followed by greater expansion in the fourth quarter as we benefit from higher volumes, price increases and ongoing efficiency projects.”

Kimball acquired New York-based Poppin in December 2020. Click here to view the full report.

HUNTINGBURG, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Jasper-based Farbest Foods Inc. is in the midst of a nearly $13 million expansion of its plant in Huntingburg. The turkey processing company is adding more than 22,000 to its deboning room, which it says will streamline the deboning process and improve output.

The addition is being built by Florida-based design and construction firm Stellar. Lead construction manager Tyler Netting says the new space will include refrigerated space and adjacent shipping docks designed to help Farbest Foods incorporate new equipment.

“It’s important for us to keep evolving and improving our practices at Farbest so we can maintain our mission of providing customers with top-grade turkey products,” Farbest Foods President Ted Seger said in a news release. “We knew Stellar’s expertise and experience would make them a great partner as we work to improve our already world-class facility.”

Farbest Foods’ Huntingburg plant was originally build in 1969 and has seen multiple expansions over the course of its history. The project is slated for completion in July.

The company did not specify if any new jobs would be created as a result of the expansion.

JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Jasper-based Kimball International Inc. (Nasdaq: KBAL) is reporting a fiscal first quarter net loss of $5.1 million, compared to net income of $5.4 million during the same quarter last year. Despite the drop, Chief Executive Officer Kristie Juster says the company is on pace for double-digit revenue growth in the second half of the fiscal year.

Kimball International is a commercial furnishings company that specializes in the workplace, health and hospitality markets. Juster says new product introductions drove revenue growth in both markets, “demonstrating how well Kimball International’s designs address changing dynamics within our key verticals.”

“Robust order growth in the first quarter was broad-based, with strong year-on-year increases across all Workplace and Health verticals, and the highest order level in our Hospitality market in a year,” Juster said. “These trends are consistent with our strategy of capturing growth in the Health market as it ramps post-COVID, pivoting to more customized projects in the Hospitality market, and gaining traction in Workplace by expanding our offerings with products and solutions that provide flexibility and adaptability.”

You can connect to the full earnings report by clicking here.

JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Jasper-based Kimball Electronics Inc. (Nasdaq: KE) is reporting fiscal first quarter net income of $2.6 million, down from $16.8 million during the same period a year ago. Chief Executive Officer Donald Charron says the company continues to deal with challenges caused by issues in the global supply chain.

Kimball also saw a 12% drop in net sales to $293 million. Charron says component shortages continue to make it challenging for the company to keep pace with strong market demand.

“We were disappointed by the lack of improvement in the overall situation in the September ending quarter, when we were actually expecting some level of recovery,” Charron said. “Conditions deteriorated in the period due to COVID related restrictions in Malaysia, and the worsening of the backlog in U.S. west coast ports. While these supply chain challenges had a more significant impact on absorption than anticipated, we are committed to retaining our experienced and talented workforce around the world as we see these disruptions as a short-term issue.”

Charron says as supply constraints get better, the company will be well positioned to ramp up production.

You can view the full earnings report by clicking here.

JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Two tech-based companies in southern Indiana are joining forces. Jasper-based Perfleek Inc., which has developed an online real estate marketplace, has merged with Two Ladders Consulting, headquartered in Tell City.

Perfleek’s marketplace allows users to search for real estate listings and vacation rental properties. The company says the merger will allow it to expand advertising and marketing services for real estate agents and vacation rental property managers and owners.

“Marketing is the foundation of every successful agent and broker, and that’s why we are committed to delivering powerful results to every agent,” Andrew Welsh, chief executive officer of Perfleek, said in a news release. “Two Ladders will make Perfleek’s value proposition stronger than ever, enabling agents that engage with Perfleek to be more efficient and accessible to potential buyers.”

The companies say Two Ladders will continue to operate under its own brand name with co-founder and President Neil Young continuing in his leadership role along with this existing team.

BEDFORD, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Bedford-based economic development agency Radius Indiana has renewed its relationship with Japanese trade officials. Members of the organization met the newest Counsul-General of Japan and with members of the Japan External Trade Organization, which is based in Chicago.

Radius Indiana says the event was Consul-General Hiroshi Tajima’s first official speaking engagement in Indiana since he was appointed to the position last month. Radius Indiana is a regional partnership representing eight counties in southwest central Indiana.

“The Radius region, the state of Indiana, and Japan understand that one of the best ways to create more opportunities and prosperity for our people is to look outside our borders,” said Becky Skillman, chair of the Radius Board of Directors. “The grand evening and enthusiastic information exchange should propel the partnership forward.”

Tajima spoke about the current relationship between Japan and Indiana and the Japanese economy. For many members of the Radius, this was their first opportunity to hear from Japanese officials in terms of economic development opportunities.

“The leadership of Radius Indiana understands the deep value of and supports manufacturing investment from Japan,” said Ralph Inforzato, JETRO chief executive director. “Their leadership, particularly the mayors we met from southern Indiana, are truly focused on relationship building with JETRO to better understand how to approach and to make relationships with Japanese companies considering investment expansion in the Midwest.”

Radius Indiana says there are 344 Japanese business with facilities in Indiana, providing more than 70,000 jobs.

JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Vincennes University has partnered with Carmel-based Telamon Corp. to place 11 collaborative robots at the school’s campus in Jasper. VU says the investment brings advanced technology and training to Dubois County to support the manufacturing employers throughout the area.

The school says the cobots lab, located in the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Manufacturing, will allow students to learn about the latest technology in a variety of fields, including manufacturing, medical, and aviation. It will also help are employers by hosting demonstrations and workshops on cobot technologies and applications.

“Cobots represent the next generation of automation within the manufacturing sector and will become part of the solution to overcoming current productivity and workforce challenge,” said CTIM Director Jacob Berg. “The VUJ Cobot Learning Lab is a resource for all community partners to explore and test collaborative robots.”

Cobots are intended for direct human interaction in a shared space, acting as “an extra set of hands,” said VU. They are smaller, able to be moved, and easier to reprogram to perform different tasks.

VU says the lab is part of an $8 million grant funded by Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc., to bolster the 21st century workforce.

JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Dove Recovery House for Women in Indianapolis is expanding into Dubois County. The organization says it plans to open a new location in Jasper by the end of 2022 in an effort to bridge a gap in treatment for women impacted by substance use disorder.

Dove House is partnering with the Dubois County Community Foundation to lease the property and provide free housing and comprehensive clinical services for up to 15 women. The foundation last year received a $4.4 million grant from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. to improve mental health and addiction treatment services in the county.

“The financial burden of treatment is one of the main reasons people do not seek help,” Wendy Noe, executive director of Dove House, said in a news release. “Another barrier we often see is proximity to services. This expansion into Dubois County will address both of these common barriers to getting help by providing free services in a community that does not have the life-saving programs Dove House offers.”

The city of Jasper donated the facility on Knust Street for use as recovery housing. Dove House says the home, which features an ADA-compliant bedroom, three double rooms and a dorm room, will undergo renovations before opening. It will be staffed by a team of licensed therapists, peer recovery coaches, resident assistants and a clinical director.

Dove House says residents who are referred to the facility will be expected to stay for a minimum of three months, but can stay for up to two years.