A California cookie and cracker company has set up shop in Sandusky, and it may end up creating about 200 local jobs, city officials said.
Adrienne's Gourmet Foods purchased the former Consolidated Biscuit company at 1034 Hancock Street on Jan. 6 for $950,000, Erie County auditor's records show.
Representatives from Adrienne's Gourmet Foods did not return phone messages seeking comment, but Carrie Handy, Sandusky's chief planner, said the company has already started operating with about 45 people.
Consolidated Biscuit shut down its manufacturing plant here and had been using the building for storage, Handy said.
City officials said Adrienne's plans to expand operations, eventually hiring a total of about 200 people.
"With all of the bad news we get, these people are a breath of fresh air," said Gregory Sherman, a local economic development consultant. "They are nice people to work with. I think it's going to be great to have them there."
Handy, Sherman and other local economic planners met with Adrienne's representatives Jan. 26 and watched cookies and crackers being made at the 114,000-square-foot Hancock Street facility.
"They have a gluten-free line," Handy said. "They were making cookies. They were making organic stone-ground wheat crackers. They hope to put some other lines in there."
The company specializes in organic foods and was the first business to bring a kosher and organic water cracker to the market.
John and Adrienne O'Donnell founded the company in 1985.
On its website, adriennesgourmetfoods.com, the company describes itself as a "Santa Barbara based family owned company that prides itself in bringing gourmet taste and health nutrition to our customers."
The company sells cookies and crackers under its own label, but also sells many products under private labels for various supermarket chains, including Meijer and Kroger, Handy said.
The company has already talked about donating food to local food kitchens and has promised to work with community job fairs and EHOVE, city officials said.
It moved into the Hancock Street building and started making food before local officials even realized it was up and running.
For area leaders, it's been a welcome change from other prospective businesses that eyed Sandusky in recent years.
Many prospects make all kinds of promises and ask for government money, but often deliver nothing, Sherman said.
This hasn't been the case with Adrienne's Gourmet Foods, whose owners apparently believe actions speak louder than words.
"These guys just kind of came in and bought it and started setting up," Sherman said.