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Huntington egg biz hatches

Echo Lake to supply 2 breakfast food factories it owns

Forgive Mark Wickersham if he seems eggs-stra excited these days.

A new employer is coming to Huntington with plans to create an undisclosed number of jobs breaking and processing chicken eggs.

Echo Lake Foods will then ship the egg product to its breakfast food factories in Kentucky and Wisconsin, according to a real estate agent who worked on the deal. Echo Lake makes frozen French toast, pancakes, waffles and numerous precooked egg dishes. The company’s diced boiled eggs are served on salad bars.

The Wisconsin company is moving into the former Good Humor-Breyers plant at 435 W. State St., Huntington. When the ice cream maker consolidated operations this past summer, 140 workers lost jobs.

Wickersham, executive director of the Huntington County Economic Development Corp., confirmed the factory sale and said he’d love to release project details, but the frozen foods company isn’t ready.

“At the appropriate time, this will be a wonderful story,” he said Monday afternoon. Echo Lake officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

Steve Zacher, a commercial real estate broker and owner of The Zacher Co., said the location was a good fit for Echo Lake because of the number of egg-producing farms in the region.

Zacher and colleague John Adams represented the seller in the deal, which closed Oct. 15.

Huntington, with a population of about 17,300, lies 25 miles southwest of Fort Wayne. The county reported a jobless rate of 7.1 percent in August, the most recent data available. That tied Allen County’s unemployment rate and bested the state’s jobless rate of 7.5 percent for the same month.

The former Good Humor-Breyers workers averaged 16 years on the job, a union official said in June. Many of them made a little more than $20 an hour, making them well-paying positions for the area. The workers were represented by the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union Local 835.