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Unilever’s $80 million investment promises economic growth in Jefferson City


A multinational company will invest tens of millions of dollars in its Jefferson City facility to add a line for a new health and wellness drink.

Unilever's Jefferson City director, Michael Whelan, said the company plans to invest $80 million to expand its Jefferson City plan to make the drink Liquid I.V., which promises to help with rehydration. Gov. Mike Parson was among the dignitaries to appear at the Tuesday morning announcement at Unilever's Truman Boulevard facility.

The Liquid I.V. brand was acquired by British-based Unilever, which makes consumer goods such as soaps.

The company already employs 450 people locally. Whelan said its too soon to know whether this will create more jobs, but there will be new skillsets needed and the company has current job openings.

"We are adding incremental headcount to these different investments," Whelan said. "What other things may happen a year from now, two years from now, this is business. So I think until we get those details finalized, it's kind of a little bit premature for me to make any comment on what that exact number is and what that's going to be."

This investment in a Mid-Missouri economy comes at a time when some Missouri companies are laying off employees and shuttering doors, like Tyson which laid off thousands of employees last year. Missouri Department of Economic Development Michelle Hataway said current unemployment levels are low, leading to many job opportunities in the state.

"Unfortunately, sometimes business decisions have to be made, but at the state, we're always looking for opportunities to make sure that we're able and allowing those companies to continue to grow here in Missouri," Hataway said. 

Unilever last month sought property tax incentives to build a warehouse in Jefferson City. That was a $25 million investment, Jefferson City Mayor Ron Fitzwater said Tuesday.

This investment was made possible because of some tax breaks Jefferson City promised Unilever. At last Monday's meeting, the Jefferson City Council approved a Chapter 100 bond for IUnilever. This type of bond allows for breaks on property taxes.

Fitzwater said these 75% tax breaks are part of what drew Unilever to make this $80 million investment. There was competition from some other cities for this investment.

Fitzwater said the support offered by the city is worth it for the investment the company has in the community.

"Well, they help and they obviously are invested in our community," Fitzwater said. "They live here. Their kids go to school here, they go to church, they shop in our stores. We want to continue that. Yes. We put a big focus in Jefferson City on 'We're open for business.' We're trying to do the things to attract businesses to our community."

Article Topic Follows: Jefferson City

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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