Two large projects — one to create jobs and one to provide additional housing — are moving forward with support from Economic Development Corp. of Wayne County. 

Plant expansion

Richmond Beverage Solutions at 1590 N.W. 11th St. in Richmond is planning a $45 million expansion that’s projected to create at least 65 new full-time jobs — and possibly closer to 80. 

Company officials say about 50 jobs would be added this year with an hourly average wage of $23, not counting planned benefits such as health and vision insurance, 401(k), and vacation/sick leave. 

Richmond Beverage Solutions expects to add another 15 workers by the end of 2027. The hourly average wage would increase by that time to $24.40.   

At its June 3 meeting, EDC’s board gave its consent for Richmond Beverage Solutions to receive $215,000 toward the expansion. It would be a grant from the Consolidated Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) fund. Other local government units have to sign off on the grant as well. 

Dairy Farmers of America acquired the company, which began as Wayne Dairy in 1921, from Smith Foods in 2019.  

Ken Davidson, local plant manager, said the company is excited to make more shelf-stable products in Richmond, such as protein drinks found in pharmacy sections.

He said the dairy has great employees, some of whom have more than 30 years of experience there, and he expects it will continue to be a staple in the community for years to come.  

Richmond Beverage Solutions has quietly been growing. The company had 180 full-time Indiana resident employees in 2022 and 216 as of last year.   

“We keep getting better,” Davidson said. 


EDC unanimously agreed to buy land from the City of Richmond to resell for new apartments on the city’s north side.

According to the resolution, the city desired to divest itself of the property, called Berryfield Park, at 1100 North Drive. The land is just east of U.S. 27.   

Berryfield Park, a 1.3 acre property near Chester Heights Apartments, provides basketball goals, a playground and open play areas, according to the City of Richmond’s website. It is a few blocks from Middlefork Reservoir’s playground and recreation areas.  

The land would be used to add 72 more market-rate apartments at Chester Heights. 

EDC President Valerie Shaffer said Chester Heights expanded about 18 months ago and all those apartments were leased, which shows the demand for more units. 

Denise Retz, superintendent for Richmond Parks and Recreation, told the EDC that its support is appreciated. 

In other housing news, EDC is working with Hagerstown leaders on planning for new housing development, including a visit to Rushville to learn about its approach for new housing.  

More prospects

EDC staff are preparing information for five potential new employers.

Two are direct leads, meaning Wayne County was shortlisted for the projects. Project Diamond would be a headquarters adding 530 jobs and investing $30 million in numerous greenfield and one redevelopment sites. 

The other, Project Route, is a manufacturer interested in 20 acres at Midwest Industrial Park. Its jobs and investment are still being determined. 

The other new leads in May are Project Orange, a vertical produce farm, which would hire at least 156 and invest $125 million; Bluebell, an aluminum manufacturer, would hire 195 and invest $110 million; and Goldeneye, a food producer, would hire 82 and invest $200 million. 

Make My Move

Thirteen remote workers have moved to Wayne County. Six of those families have been here for one year and received their second incentive installment. All plan to remain in the county. 

One worker and family are currently relocating. Five more have accepted the county’s offer to move within six months, and four offers are pending. 


The board reviewed its progress on meeting its strategic plan goals regarding recruiting and retaining Wayne County’s workforce. 

Shaffer said Wayne County’s EDC has a broader focus than similar organizations in other communities because it looks at issues related to economic development that need improvement such as talent, housing and child care. 

The EDC is often a convener rather than a leader on some personnel initiatives because other organizations already plan efforts such as career and hiring fairs and mentoring young professionals. Those include Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce and Forward Wayne County, which is part of Wayne County Foundation. 

Renee Doty, marketing and communications manager, is focused on rebranding EDC’s talent attraction campaign called Home in Wayne. That work might be finished in about four months.

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A version of this article appeared in the June 12 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.