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Production facility for dairy drinks coming to Oswego

Updated: November 26, 2013 6:25AM

A producer of dairy drinks has chosen Oswego as the home for its second production facility in the United States.

Village officials have announced that Asian-based Win Soon Inc. will seek zoning approval next month to renovate and build a 20,000-square-foot addition to a building at 190 Kendall Point Drive. The existing 51,000-square-foot building is located in the Kendall Point Park business development.

“The win for us are jobs and filling manufacturing space,” said Steve Jones, village administrator. “How often do you get an outstanding company not only to relocate but to literally expand.”

Winn Soon is the only producer of Asian style cultured dairy beverages in the United States. The company currently has a location in California and is now looking to have a Midwest presence.

The Oswego facility will process and bottle its Epoca brand beverages sold to consumers at Costco, Albertsons, Food 4 Less and Aldi stores.

Vijay Gadde, Oswego economic development director, said the company expects to employ 40 full-time workers in the first year of operation and expand to 180 full-time employees by the year 2020.

Gadde said the company’s representatives chose Oswego because they liked the current facility and the demographics of the area.

According to the company’s website, the Hap Dong Corporation of South Korea, which is the parent company of Win Soon, has specialized in cultured milk products for 30 years and produces a variety of unique drinks under the Epoca label.

Win Soon, established in 1993, has a 41,000-square-foot building and storage facilities in South Gate, Calif., that produces 720,000 bottles daily. The company originally sold a line of seven-ounce drinks to Asian markets in California and subsequently added other items, including probiotic products, a dietary supplement.

The company says the Epoca cultured dairy beverages became popular among Korean communities in the U.S. and has expanded to other consumers.

Jones said the village was contacted by a broker representing the South Korean firm.

“We put together some gift packets for them to take back home and for a couple of hours gave them a tour with a translator,” Jones said.

Jones said the village then assembled a team, which included representatives of the state of Illinois, that was essentially a “one-stop-shop” to assist the company with their plans to move to Oswego.

“They really felt they had an advocate,” Jones said. “Our incentive was a good process with a good turnaround time.”

The building is currently occupied by the Molor Products company, a product research and development manufacturer of novelty items, including pet products and seasonal goods. Village officials said the company is downsizing and won’t need as much space in the future.

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