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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2005

GOV. BLAGOJEVICH PRAISES GROUNDBREAKING FOR SANFILIPPO’S NEW FACILITY BACKED BY $5 MILLION IN OPPORTUNITY RETURNS SUPPORT
The Governor is Helping to Keep Almost 1,000 Jobs in Illinois

ELGIN - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns program today helped Sanfilippo and Son, Inc. launch an exciting new era with a groundbreaking ceremony for the company’s new 1,000,000 square foot facility in Elgin.  The nut and snack food producer’s move into the 90-acre complex, which will house both its processing facilities and corporate offices, was largely made possible through $5 million in Opportunity Returns support.  The major business development project will allow the company to retain 930 employees at the consolidated Elgin facility and create at least 25 new jobs.  Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Jack Lavin joined company and local officials for the groundbreaking ceremony today in Elgin.
 
“By taking an hands-on approach to the needs of business, both large or small, and responding with targeted resources, we can help businesses increase their competitiveness and reach new levels of productivity.  We’re proud that this investment we’re making in Sanfilippo is helping ensure that a successful company will continue growing its business right here in Illinois,” Gov. Blagojevich said.   
 
The business investment package is coming from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), including Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) corporate income tax credits over the next ten years based on job retention and creation; 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.
                                                                                   
"Gov. Blagojevich's Opportunity Returns officials worked closely with us to develop programs to maintain our corporate headquarters in the state.  On behalf of all the employees at John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc., I want to thank the Governor for this support.  Our company looks forward to a successful partnership as we begin our facility expansion plans and relocation to Elgin," Jeffrey Sanfilippo, Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc., said.
 
“Gov. Blagojevich’s vision from day one was to redefine the role of the state’s economic development agency so that it would act as a better catalyst of business growth and, in turn, help create more jobs and a more tangible, positive impact for the local economy.  The support the Governor is providing to Sanfilippo will help this company compete on a new level and is a great example of that vision at work,” DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.
 
John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc was established in 1922 and is a leader in the snack food industry, known internationally for the Fisher and Evon’s product names.  It is a processor, packager and marketer of a wide variety of nut, snack and candy products.  The company has more than 1,600 employees in nine facilities across the country.
 
Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy 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 – each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges.  Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses.  It is about upgrading the skills of the local workforce, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs.  Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.


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