Sander Processing, Fischer Farms expandingApril 16, 2021
By CANDY NEAL
ST. ANTHONY — Fischer Farms and Sander Processing are building in St. Anthony the additional space that each company needs.
The companies, which operate out of Celestine, will continue their partnership with their new facilities. Sander will have two sites, keeping its Celestine building running as is. Fischer will move its entire operation to the St. Anthony building.
“It's two separate businesses,” said Diana Fischer of Fischer Farms. “But we work together.”
The multi-million-dollar site sits on the east side of Cross Street, across from the St. Anthony Community Center. Construction of the buildings is almost complete. Each company is constructing a facility on its property and a bridge will connect the two buildings.
Both companies have requested a personal property tax abatement from the county for the equipment that will be installed inside the buildings. The Dubois County Council has set up special meetings for Monday. Those include two public hearings and a meeting to consider approval of the requests.
Sander’s St. Anthony facility will not replace the Celestine site, Kent Sander of Sander Processing confirmed. He and his brothers Randy and Chris own the company and are committed to keeping their Celestine base.
“We are going to keep Celestine running very similar to the way it is,” Kent Sander said. “Basically, what we're doing at St. Anthony is we're going to move our bigger accounts to St. Anthony and keep our regular custom processing here in Celestine. We'll keep the retail store open here also.”
He will operate the new facility. “We’re going to start processing there in about three weeks,” Sander said. “We're hoping to open our retail store up probably in about six weeks or so.”
Plans on the new site started last year.
“We're hoping to basically be at full goal, hopefully by the beginning of June,” Sander said. “We’ll start in a few weeks and slowly work our way up.”
Sander and Fischer have been working together since Fischer started in the mid-2000s. Sander processes Fischer's meats.
“At first, we were just using space in the back of their processing room,” Fischer said. “And when we got too big for that, they built on the building for us.” That happened in 2013.
Over the years, the company has expanded its offerings to include natural beef, pork, chicken as well as Amish eggs, syrup and honey. The company provides their products to restaurants, universities, grocery stores and individuals from as far north as Chicago to Louisville to Cincinnati. They have about 150 customers a week, Fischer said.
So while the expanded space worked for Fischer at that time, it doesn’t now.
“At that time, we were doing 20% of the business that we're doing now, and we are so tight on space,” Fischer said. “We are so so excited to get this building and have space, so then we can continue to grow.”
Fischer's 5,500-square-foot facility will have a new freezer area and big cooler area “where we can get all the orders together shipped out,” Fischer said.
Fischer Farms hopes to be in its new space in May. “We're very excited,” Fischer said. “We cannot wait to have a bigger space.”
Diana and Dave Fischer's son, Joseph, is the sales representative and will continue to be based in Indianapolis.
The county council discussed the tax abatement requests at its March meeting. Based on the scoring system used by the county tax abatement committee, each company qualified for personal property abatements that would be for four years at 100% for the first year, 75% for the second year, 50% for the third year and 25% for the fourth year. The council must hold public hearings before issuing confirmatory approval. Those meetings will start at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the commissioners/council room in the Dubois County Courthouse Annex, 602 Main St., Jasper.
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