BNutty artisan peanut butter to hire 100 in major expansion

Jars of peanut butter come down the line at the BNutty Gourmet Peanut Butter Co. in Merrillville. The company will expand at a new facility in Portage.

BNutty has found so much success selling its Irresistible Pretzel, Joyful Cranberry and other gourmet peanut butters at retailers like Strack & Van Til, Town & Country and Wiseway that it's now plotting a major expansion.

The maker of natural, artisan peanut butter plans to invest $1.9 million in a move to Portage and hire 100 more workers by 2021. BNutty is moving its operations from a 2,500-square-foot facility in Merrillville to a 16,000-square-foot leased space in the AmeriPlex at the Port business park in Portage so it can ramp up its output to keep pace with demand.

"We live in this community and believe it's important to give back to it," BNutty founder Joy Thompkins said. "We're beyond grateful for the support we've received in Northwest Indiana, and are so excited to have our community with us today to celebrate BNutty's grand opening in Portage."

The company sells jars of peanut butter made with U.S.-grown peanuts that are freshly ground and honey roasted. It adds ingredients like berries and oats to create flavors like Totally Toffee and Simply Salted Caramel. 

“The Northwest Indiana community has been supportive of BNutty since we first introduced our products," said Thompkins' business partner, Carol Podolak. "We love the region, and the opportunities for new business are endless here. Northwest Indiana has everything that a small business needs to succeed, including support from local and state government, organizations designed to promote small business growth, and easy access to a major city, airport and talented workforce. We're deeply involved with our community and couldn’t imagine growing anywhere else."

The company, which now employs 15 workers, moved to boost its production and enhance its distribution, given its new facility's proximity to Interstate 94 and Interstate 80. The company now sells its products at Walmart, QVC, Valparaiso University and Harvest Bread Co. in Crown Point, among other places. 

"We’re excited to celebrate the next step forward for BNutty as it opens its new facility in Portage, increasing its food production capacity and creating 100 good jobs in Northwest Indiana," Indiana Economic Development Corp. President Elaine Bedel said.

The state agency is giving BNutty $500,000 in incentives as a reward for the job creation at its new facility at 6370 AmeriPlex Drive. The company is now hiring people for positions in production, logistics and marketing.

“Today’s announcement will have a lasting positive impact on Portage and all of Northwest Indiana,” Portage Mayor John Cannon said. “We’re excited to celebrate BNutty’s new facility, and look forward to witnessing their continued success as they produce nationally-recognized peanut butter in Northwest Indiana with the help of our talented workforce."


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.