Cabela's teaser (copy)

Sidney, Nebraska, has faced painful job losses since Cabela’s, its local business success, was acquired two years ago by Missouri-based Bass Pro Shops. But major investment announced by a Canadian company is creating new possibilities for this western Nebraska community.

Toronto-based MMP Enterprises, which specializes in logistics services for the pharmaceutical and nutritional supplements industries, is buying the former Cabela’s distribution center and will use it to warehouse and fulfill orders for its clients. That activity should create 300 jobs over the next three years.

In addition, MMP’s sister company Fairlawn Products, which makes dietary supplements, has long-term plans to open a manufacturing facility, product research and development lab and marketing operation on the former Cabela’s campus. Fairlawn intends to locally source as many ingredients as possible, generating secondary economic benefits for the region.

Market conditions were fundamental in making the deal happen, but some homegrown ingredients also made the difference: the pro-business environment in Sidney and Nebraska; the available talent pool; hard work by Sidney leaders and state economic officials; and Nebraska business incentives.

Sidney’s No. 1 priority in the wake of the Cabela’s acquisition is job creation, says Melissa Norgard, Sidney’s economic development director. The major reduction in Cabela’s corporate operations, which until recently employed 2,000 people, had already delivered a blow. Then in March, Pro Bass Shops closed the former Cabela’s distribution center, putting 121 people out of work.

MMP announced in January that it was making an initial investment in Sidney, and when the distribution center became available a few months later, the door opened to an even larger business commitment by the Canadian firm.

“The city and the residents are very excited about the future and the opportunities that MMP brings to the community,” Norgard told The World-Herald. “They’re excited to open their arms and welcome them here.”

MMP responded favorably to the business-friendly approaches by Sidney and state officials, Norgard said. Nebraska business incentives helped, too. Such incentives “are very crucial to recruiting companies and putting ourselves ahead of other states and communities,” she said.

MMP has applied for Nebraska Advantage tax credits and is finalizing an application for site and building development funds through a state economic development team.

Sidney’s location in the middle of the country provides “rapid access” throughout the lower 48 states, said Mark Priemer, MMP’s president.

MMP’s decision to invest in Sidney shows the importance of effective economic development recruiting, appropriately crafted business incentives and openness to foreign business investment. The welcome result: Sidney is moving forward and looking to new opportunities.

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