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Candlemaker planning $33.3M Hickory expansion more than six months after tornado destroyed Mayfield facility

An aerial shot of the collapsed Mayfield Consumer Products factory.
Courtesy of John Hewlett
An aerial shot of the collapsed Mayfield Consumer Products factory.

The Graves County candle and home fragrance product manufacturer that lost a facility where several people tragically died during December’s tornado outbreak is set to expand its operations in another part of the county.

Mayfield Consumer Products is planning to invest $33.3 million dollars and employ more than 500 people full time over the next five years at its Hickory Industrial Park site. The company currently employs 160 people, but this expansion will see it return to its pre-disaster size after cutting more than half its positions in January.

Governor Andy Beshear detailed the expansion Thursday during a press conference.

“Following last year’s devastating storm in western Kentucky, we are glad to see jobs returning to the area,” he said. “This reinvestment by Mayfield Consumer Products is good news for Graves County and the surrounding region as they work to rebuild and recover from the deadliest tornadoes in our state’s history.”

A release sent out after the conference further detailed the company’s plans. Construction has already started on a $2.3 million, 40,000 square foot expansion with an additional 63,000 square-foot expansion still to come. This project will see MCP consolidate its operations in Graves County to what will be more than 300,000 square feet in total facilities.

Beshear says this announcement is a sign of continued progress in the west Kentucky community’s recovery effort.

“This expansion will reestablish the company's employment base in the region and adds to the overall rebuilding efforts so that many people across the state and beyond our borders that have helped over these last six months will see a future, and our future has to include jobs,” the governor said. “We're not just working hard to rebuild homes. We're working real hard to rebuild an economy or maybe push it even further knowing that a good job is the reason that people will stay in that community or even move to a community.”

Company leaders expect the expansion to be complete by 2023.

“We dearly love this community and its citizens,” MCP founder Mary Propes said in the statement. “MCP’s resolve to rebuild here and to play a central role in helping to restore the place we call home has been a top priority since the morning of Dec. 11, 2021. This community has a bright future, and we are committed to being a big part of that progress.”

Founded in Mayfield in 1998, Mayfield Consumer Products is a family-owned company retained by the Propes family. MCP has manufacturing contracts with many top global brands, such as Bath & Body Works.

Graves County Judge-Executive Jesse Perry is eager to see MCP return to its pre-disaster size.

“We are excited that Mayfield Consumer Products will continue to grow in Graves County. After the devastation we encountered last December, it is uplifting to see progress move forward,” the judge-executive said in a statement.

Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan noted the company’s resilience in the release, saying the Propes family “has the people of Mayfield and Graves County in their hearts.” She also echoed Beshear’s sentiments, saying this is a sign of continued economic recovery.

“This expansion is just one of many steps in the process of economic healing as our community moves forward in building back better than we were prior to the devastating tornado of December 2021,” O’Nan said.

In an interview with WKMS News, Graves County Economic Development president Jason Lemle said the investment by MCP signifies their “continuous commitment” to the community, calling the announcement “a new light of hope.” Lemle said this announcement is hopefully just one of many future economic development successes for the community in the year after the disaster.

“We are planning to announce some new investment and new job creation within the community in the upcoming months,” he said. “And we continue to plan for the revitalization of the downtown area and a better future ahead for the city of Mayfield and Graves County.”

A native of western Kentucky, Operle earned his bachelor's degree in integrated strategic communications from the University of Kentucky in 2014. Operle spent five years working for Paxton Media/The Paducah Sun as a reporter and editor. In addition to his work in the news industry, Operle is a passionate movie lover and concertgoer.
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