‘Project Brick’ revealed

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Canadian baked-goods firm eyes planned industrial park

By Jesef Williams

Much of the secrecy surrounding “Project Brick” has dissipated.
Ryan Wetherington, marketing director for Lancaster County Economic Development Corp., spoke at City Council’s Tuesday, Dec. 11, meeting about the company looking to locate in the planned industrial park off S.C. 9.
For a long time, the company – along with the involved negotiations – had been solely referred to as Project Brick.
Wetherington, though, told council during open session that the company is Fancy Pokket, a baked-goods manufacturer headquartered in New Brunswick, Canada.
The company, started in 1989, makes pita bread, bagels, pizza crusts, flat bread and tortilla wraps, among other products.
Fancy Pokket owner Mike Timani has grown the company to where it now needs a United States location. That site (possibly in Lancaster County) will produce a gluten-free line of baked goods, according to information Wetherington distributed at Tuesday’s meeting.
“It’ll impact people all across the U.S. and globally,” Wetherington said of the new operation.
He said Fancy Pokket wants to build a 34,000-square-foot facility on 13 acres of the  planned Lancaster Air-Rail Industrial Park, which is near Lancaster County Airport, not far from the county line. Fancy Pokket’s location would be at the corner of Mount Nebo Church Road and S.C. 9.
Wetherington said the company desires Lancaster County because of its closeness to the interstate and its proximity to an international airport.
“Lancaster County meets those needs,” Councilwoman Sara Eddins said.
Fancy Pokket would invest $8 million in land, construction of the facility and related machinery and equipment.
Within five years, 68 new jobs would be created, with 38 of those coming in the first year. The jobs include pickers, packers, machine operators and personnel to work in shipping and receiving. Wetherington said the average wages would be between $12 and $15 per hour.
“Are you confirming our people will have the first shot at these jobs?” asked City Councilman Gonzie Mackey.
Wetherington said Lancaster County residents would be the first to be made aware of the new positions, and that local job-readiness personnel would be closely involved.
‘A race against time’
Lancaster County Council has been scheduling special meetings this month to get measures approved before the end of the year that would allow the company to move into the park.
Wetherington spoke of the importance and urgency of the project, which has many time-sensitive incentives attached.
“This project is a race against time,” he said. “It has to be approved before Dec. 31 so we can get those 68 jobs.”

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152