The company where eight people died last December when a tornado demolished its candle factory in Mayfield is planning a major expansion, Governor Andy Beshear’s office said Thursday.
The Mayfield Consumer Products (MCP) project is expected to create hundreds of jobs, according to the statement.
The company did not rebuild the Mayfield plant after the disaster, moving operations to an industrial park a few miles away in Hickory. The industrial park is in Graves County.
The company has begun construction on a 40,000 square foot expansion, but on Thursday announced plans for an additional 63,000 square foot project at a cost of $31 million, Beshear’s office said.
MCP, which makes candles and home fragrance products for companies such as Bath & Body Works, has 160 employees. He had about 500 before the December 10 tornado destroyed his Mayfield plant.
With the expansion, the company will eventually employ more than 500 people, according to the release.
Beshear and local officials hailed the importance of the planned project to continue recovery efforts from the killer tornadoes that struck Mayfield, Dawson Springs, Bowling Green and other western Kentucky communities on Dec. 10 and 11.
“After the devastation we encountered last December, it is encouraging to see progress moving forward,” said Graves County Executive Judge Jesse Perry. “Capital investment and new jobs in our community are a powerful boost to the rebuilding process.”
The state approved Mayfield Consumer Products for up to $100,000 in tax incentives in April for its expansion.
There were about 110 people at the former Mayfield Consumer Products factory in Mayfield on the evening of December 10 when a powerful tornado hit the town, flattening the building and much of the town.
There were a number of injuries at the candle factory in addition to fatalities.
Some workers charged in a lawsuit that supervisors ordered workers to stay on the job or be fired, despite the threat of tornadoes.
A company spokesperson denied the allegations when the complaint was filed shortly after the disaster, saying employees were free to leave without fear of reprisal.