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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2004

GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $1.7 MILLION IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS SUPPORT TO BRING NEW DISTRIBUTION CENTER AND 100 NEW JOBS TO CHAMPAIGN-URBANA

CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced today the awarding of more than $1.7 million in Opportunity Returns grants and tax credits to SUPERVALU INC., the largest publicly held food wholesaler in the U.S. and a leading grocery retailer, to build a 155,000 square-foot produce warehouse/distribution center in Champaign-Urbana.  The opening of the facility will create 100 new jobs.  The funding is coming as a part of Opportunity Returns, Gov. Blagojevich’s historic, regional economic development plan to spur growth and job creation across the East Central region and throughout the state.
 
“Illinois will always compete for business on the reputation of our world-class workforce, our advanced and reliable infrastructure, and our proximity to a vast number of important markets.  When we supplement those tremendous assets with the right combination of financial and technical resources, we become a very attractive location in which to do business.  We’re thrilled SUPERVALU has decided Champaign-Urbana is the right place to build its new distribution center, where we know the company will continue to thrive as a valued member of the East Central region’s business community,” Gov. Blagojevich said.
 
SUPERVALU INC., a Fortune 100 company, is one of the largest companies in the United States grocery channel. With annual revenues exceeding $20 billion, SUPERVALU holds leading market share positions with its more than 1,500 retail grocery locations across 41 states.  In addition, through SUPERVALU's extensive network of 24 regional distribution centers, the company provides related logistics and supply chain support services across the nation's grocery channel.
 
   “At SUPERVALU, we are tremendously excited about developing our new produce-only facility in Champaign, which complements our existing 900,000 square foot distribution center in Urbana,” said Jeff Noddle, SUPERVALU chairman and CEO.  “This new, state-of-the-art facility will be among the largest in the Midwest, and is another step in fulfilling our promise to serve our customers better than anyone else can.  SUPERVALU has  very strong partnerships with the cities of Champaign and Urbana, as well as the State of Illinois, and we look forward to continuing our role as a solid corporate citizen in these communities where we do business.”
 
“Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns plan is about making targeted investments at the community level that will accentuate the region’s competitive advantages, create new jobs, and position the local economy for sustained growth.  This support for SUPERVALU will allow a successful company and quality local employer to continue expanding and thriving in Champaign-Urbana and is a great example of that strategy at work,” State Senator Rick Winkel (R-Urbana) said
                                                                                                        
The majority of the support will come in the form of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credits, which are based on job creation projections over a ten-year period; as well as Enterprise Zone investment and job-creation credits
   arising from the company’s location within an enterprise zone.  DCEO will also provide a Large Business Development Program (LBDP) grant and Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job training funds that will help enhance the skills of its workforce.
              
“With the complex challenges of today’s economy, it’s more important than ever to work closely with businesses to understand their unique needs and objectives, and then respond with the kind of customized support that will help them achieve their goals.  This project is a strong indication that we’re doing that well and a great example of how Opportunity Returns is working by investing in companies and people in ways that we can really see and feel.  Gov. Blagojevich and State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson are creating an appealing environment here that companies like SUPERVALU can thrive in and that will continue to fuel more economic growth,” said Jack Lavin, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
                          
The Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history.  Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – finding areas with common economic strengths and needs, and developing a plan with specific actions for each region.  This grassroots effort is a product of significant outreach over several months with business, civic and labor leaders, and elected officials.  Opportunity Returns contains tangible actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to business.


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