EVART — For nearly 90 years, workers in the rural community of Evart processed dairy products out of the Dean’s Dairy building. After shutting its doors and ending an era in 2013, the vacant building now has new owners who plan to repurpose it for automotive component manufacturing.
Ventra Evart LLC plans to purchase the empty Dean’s Dairy facility, also known as the Liberty Dairy building, about a mile from its current facility, according to a statement this week from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC).
The state is supporting the project with a $350,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.
Ventra Evart, Evart’s largest employer, is a subsidiary of Illinois-based Flex-N-Gate, a Tier 1 supplier of plastic automotive components. Ventra Evart makes plastics, metals, lighting and mechanical assemblies for the auto industry.
According to the company, continued growth created a need to expand operations. Ventra Evart expects the project to cost $3.75 million and create 50 jobs.
The Dean’s Dairy building, which had housed the community’s second-largest employer, has been vacant for nearly six years and faced demolition less than two years ago. Ventra chose the site over a competing location in Ohio, according to the MEDC.
The city of Evart anticipates approving a 50-percent property tax abatement in support of the project.
“Ventra has proven their commitment to our community by reinvesting in the Dean’s property,” Evart Interim City Manager Sarah Dvoracek said in a statement. “We are excited to have this opportunity with work with Ventra and will help in any way possible to make it successful.”