Blair Packaging

While the national economic picture is still concerning, a recent announcement by a Southeast Missouri company has generated reason for excitement locally.

Blair Packaging Inc. of Scott City announced earlier this month that it would be opening a paper box manufacturing facility in the former Thorngate Ltd. building in Cape Girardeau. The operation, called Blair Best Box, will manufacture a new high-end box line.

The facility will initially bring a $2.5 million investment to the city, and, according to company president Ronn Unterreiner, the company hopes to hire 20 to 30 employees by the second quarter of this year.

Finding a buyer for the former Thorngate building has been a lengthy process. According to Mitch Robinson, executive director of the Cape Girardeau Area Magnet, it was a "complex deal" to make this purchase a reality.

Part of the deal's complexity was because of the foreclosure proceedings on the building. However, the purchase was finalized with the help of a $165,000 low-interest loan from the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission's revolving loan fund.

In addition to the new Cape Girardeau facility, the company plans to maintain its current operation in Scott City.

As we've noted in many editorials before, Cape Girardeau is an excellent place for businesses to locate. And while economic development is reason to celebrate, the use of the former Thorngate building is especially rewarding for Cape Girardeau.