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Emmet County to experience a Chill

Chill-Can, a self-chilling beverage can now selling in the Los Angeles area, will bring 200 middle class jobs to Estherville, according to Jeff Robinson

July 9, 2020
By Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer , Estherville News

While the federal project in Estherville continues to move at the pace of federal government, the massive amount of work involved in lining up investors and initial contractors and meeting regulations has allowed local financial professional Jeff Robinson to meet company CEOs and investors from all over the nation and develop other projects.

The latest of these is Chill-Can.

Robinson teamed up with two investors, one for whom Robinson was a student-intern in 1988, to move the company along and forward with an additional group of investors with the condition for funding that they must build a plant in Estherville. The contract is nearly completed.

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Chill-Can is a self-cooling beverage container that will be manufactured in Estherville if all goes through with a deal to be inked soon with Joseph Company.

"I predict the groundbreaking will be quicker than the federal project," Robinson said.

What is Chill-Can?

It's a beverage can with an internal chilling structure. A built-in Heat Exchange Unit (HEU), contains the technology to chill the drink in about a minute is activated by a twist bottom. One twist and that whooshing sound tells the user something is happening. Environmentally safe, reclaimed Co2 in the HEU chills the beverage. At the moment, Chill-Can is embedded in cans of cold-brew, caffeinated coffee sold in 7-11 stores in the Los Angeles area. CEO Mitchell Joseph said each year the company will produce newly innovated containers and add new products to the Chill-Can lineup.

"I think it's a great opportunity for Estherville," Robinson said.

The company will offer anywhere from 200-250 jobs with base salaries of $40,000-$80,000 and benefits, Robinson said.

The company has built a plant in Youngstown, Ohio after a major local controversy there. After a three-year ordeal, the plant is scheduled to open within the next 90 days.

Gary Savage, CEO of Coast-to-Coast, who will handle distribution, said, "The Youngstown Plant was basically put together, and then delayed by the construction process with the contractor, then the amount of money that was needed to put that unit together...that will be completed in three months. That will be a billion-can plant."

A May report from ProPublica about several fizzled incentive projects in Youngstown said a pair of Morton-building structures sit empty on the site with piles of framing on an abandoned road that runs through the area, and limited signage has been posted to even tell onlookers what will be on the site.

The company, however, has ambitious plans. The proposed research and manufacturing site in Youngstown is a $20 million complex.

Savage said each portion of the Youngstown project would be paid as milestones were met, but it was a question of control over the project, homework on the scope of the project, and other factors that would not be an issue on the Estherville project.

The Joseph Company is more than Chill-Can. Matteo J. Joseph, a member of Stanford University's 2020 class in engineering, heads up the artificial intelligence (AI) department. Matteo said the company has plans in the very near future to implement AI into business applications ranging from research and development, manufacturing, marketing and accounting. These applications would use the deepest forms of machine learning, Matteo said.

Robinson said, "I grew up in the 1980s in Estherville, one of the poorest times in Estherville. When I was in high school, it was right after the Morrell plant closed. It was really devastating to Estherville. We lost tons of businesses and a huge economic base, and I saw first-hand the devastation of that.

I am loyal to the folks who were loyal to our family business for almost 100 years. It's a way of giving back and thanking them for their loyalty to our family. I have an office in Estherville and I do business there and want to expand my own business in Estherville, located at Northstar Bank."

The Estherville News will continue following this developing story.



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