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The first steps in what Tony Caccomo believes will transform Decatur are moving closer to being completed. Caccomo provided an update Wednesday during the Mount Zion Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon at the Gin Mill restaurant in downtown Decatur about plans for National Foodworks Services, a business which is currently under construction in Decatur. The project is transforming the former Brush College School building into a food innovation center.

Caccomo is hoping the project plays a leading part in making a significant change to the Decatur business landscape. He wants people to know that the products they're consuming are made in Decatur, which is why a “Made in Decatur Illinois” label will be added to a unique brand of products from the facility. Caccomo thinks Decatur can become a food manufacturing hub.

Consumers are changing where they want their food to come from, Caccomo said. He said they want locally produced food and Decatur is in a position to take advantage of that trend. Decatur is positioned to be an extraordinary location for manufacturing and distribution as consumers demand more transparency in knowing where their food comes from, Caccomo said. He said the trends have the industry moving quickly.

If construction stays on track, Caccomo said the facility should be operational within the next couple of months. Part of the plan is intended to provide training opportunities as National Foodworks is working with schools including Richland Community College and Millikin University to provide students with internships to begin working in the industry. He hopes they see the business opportunities available in Central Illinois, which can benefit the entire region if they start their own ventures and remain working in the area.

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