Governor Quinn Announces Loan to Support New Union Jobs at John Hofmeister & Son Inc.

Photo by Harvey Tillis

Gov. Quinn speaks with UFCW Local 1546 member Jose Diaz who has worked at John Hofmeister & Son for 35 years.

Governor Pat Quinn announced today that a $2 million loan from the state will allow John Hofmeister & Son Inc., a family-owned manufacturer on the West Side, to expand and add union jobs as it enters new markets.

The state loan is part of a $9 million financing package led by Village Bank & Trust of Arlington Heights. The money will allow the company to pay off old debt, acquire new equipment and hire 25 workers. Hofmeister, which does business as Hof Haus, employs on average about 80 people, with many belonging to the United Food & Commercial Workers Union or the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the Illinois economy. This project represents our commitment to help family-owned businesses thrive,” said Governor Quinn. “Our work with the banking community produces attractive options for financing so that small companies, especially our manufacturers, can create good jobs and serve as a dynamic growth engine for our state.”

The state’s loan comes through the Advantage Illinois program administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

“Advantage Illinois is a shot in the arm to our small businesses,” said DCEO Director Adam Pollet. “Enhancing business access to capital is a top priority for Illinois. It gets entrepreneurs and small businesses starting up or expanding and creating quality jobs at a faster rate.”

“We want to thank Governor Quinn for helping to make possible Advantage Illinois and the loan which will create 25 new union jobs here at John Hofmeister & Son,” said Eric Bailey, spokesperson for UFCW Local 1546. “If we are going to end income inequality in our state it can only happen by creating good paying union jobs, raising the minimum wage and mandating paid sick leave. Governor Quinn understands that Illinois needs jobs that pay a living wage, not tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations. Corporations like Safeway Inc. shut down Dominick’s grocery stores and laid off thousands of workers to maximize shareholder profits at the expense of middle class families and our communities. Corporations had their opportunity to create jobs and they chose profits over people. With programs like the Governor’s Advantage Illinois, our state is making an investment in people and small businesses and building a path to prosperity.”

Hofmeister was founded in Chicago more than 60 years ago and produces ham, pork and turkey products under private labels and the brand “Old Warsaw.” Its customers include delis, food service providers, school lunch programs and food assistance programs under government contracts. It plans to expand into more retail chains and into the Hispanic market.

The manufacturer recently earned the USDA Hub Zone “Contractor of the Year Award” for its customer service, quality control and expedient delivery record.

“We are proud and thankful to work together with Governor Quinn as well as Village Bank & Trust to keep small family-owned businesses in Chicago alive,” said Matt Hofmeister, the company’s chief executive officer. “Not only will Hof Haus continue to bring jobs to the West Side, it will attract more consumers to our community where they will support the local economy.”

Governor Quinn said that while Illinois’ economy has diversified beyond its historical strengths in manufacturing and agriculture, growth in factory production has played a large role in the state’s recovery from the recent recession. More than 577,000 workers in the state, about 10 percent of the total employment base, are engaged in manufacturing. The sector has added 25,000 jobs since January 2010.

UFCW Local 1546 represents workers in Illinois and Indiana in a diverse range of industries including grocery and drug retailers; meat cutting, processing, and packing; chemical works; nursing home and healthcare facilities, and many others.