‘Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky’ Maker, City Close to Agreement on Firm Coming to Haverhill

One of Monogram’s food products.

Tennessee-based Monogram Foods, maker of Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky and other foods, and the city are close to an agreement on bringing the company to Haverhill.

In advance of a Haverhill City Council vote approving short-term tax breaks, Mayor James J. Fiorentini said Monday the was looking at other Massachusetts communities for a new plant, but prefers Haverhill because of its nearness to Interstate 495, among other factors.

“This is going to be one of the biggest business developments in Haverhill in some time,” Fiorentini said in a release. “This project is going to be a huge benefit to the city in terms of economic activity, tax revenue, good-paying jobs and perhaps most of all, good economic news at a time when we could really use it. These 350-plus jobs will be coming exactly when we need them the most, when so many of our citizens are hurting.”

As first reported by WHAV in February, Monogram has been eyeing a vacant lot at 25 Computer Drive, off Route 97. It plans to lease 135,000 square foot building near such other park businesses as Magellan Aerospace, Southwick Clothing and Target.

Fiorentini said he has been in discussions with Monogram officials, including CEO Karl Schledwitz, for several months to attempt to recruit the company to Haverhill. The company, which employees around 3,000 in Wilmington and seven states, has been looking at other Massachusetts communities for its new plant, but preferred the Haverhill location due to its proximity to Interstate 495, among other factors.

The mayor said the tax breaks before the Council are “specifically in exchange for up to 354 jobs and long-term investment in the city and are contingent on those jobs being created.  The jobs, which will be phased in over the company’s first three years at the site, are to be a mix of manufacturing, warehouse and distribution positions.”

Under the 10-year tax program, the company would pay 30 percent of property taxes in each of its first four years here. Those payments would then escalate by 10 percent annually until the company is paying the full tax bill in a decade. The company will pay an estimated $156,000 per year in property tax when the discounts expire.

“We negotiated long and hard with this company to bring them here,” the mayor said. “We did not give them everything they wanted in terms of a tax break, but we did give them enough to have them be eligible for the much more generous state tax breaks.”

The tax arrangement is part of a partnership with the state, which would also provide tax credits to help the company’s move to Haverhill. The state Economic Incentive Coordinating Council is scheduled to consider its contribution June 18.

Fiorentini said construction of the facility is expected to begin this summer, pending local and state approval of the tax program, and then local building approval by the Conservation Commission prior to construction.

According to Monogram’s website, the company prepares beef jerky, bacon jerky, turkey jerky, meat sticks, pickled sausages and pickled eggs, smoked sausage, hotdogs, pre-cooked bacon, bacon, corndogs, mini corndogs, pancake and sausage, potato skins, onion rings, breaded cheese strips, cheese curds, jalapeno poppers, breaded mushrooms, breaded vegetables, sandwiches and other foods. It was founded in 2004 with the purchase of King Cotton and Circle B brand meats from Sara Lee Corporation.

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