BUNNELL, Fla. – Landing a company’s commitment as the first US based location is big deal. Being the facilitator of that recruitment and seeing it come to fruition through both position changes and COVID is an even bigger accomplishment, making Monday’s official grand opening even sweeter for Helga van Eckert.
Cutting the ribbon on May 15th at the Vidya Herbs USA location – the first in the United States, van Eckert stood proudly by as the company’s founder and president Shyam Prasad cut the ribbon to open the manufacturing plant in Bunnell.
As founder of Vidya Herbs, Prasad discussed the importance of quality products, continuing to build consumer confidence in the US market, and having a passion for excellence as they root their Florida headquarters’ foundation in the local community.
The facility refines raw, natural materials creating herbal extracts used in the development of herbal products, and on Monday unveiled their state-of-the-art Supercritical Fluid Extractor, officially flipping the switch to an attentive audience.
More than just a new business in town, the opening of the plant signals opportunity.
“I have been in manufacturing in the area for over 25 years and to have new manufacturing come into our area, we’ve been waiting for it, we’ve been preparing our workforce for it, and we are ready to grow and to make things,” said Jayne Fifer, director of education for the Volusia Manufacturers Association.
“I think it says we are growing and there’s nothing stopping us.”
Florida Secretary of Commerce Laura DiBella said the state is busy welcoming and managing new growth across a variety of sectors, and was pleased to see a semi-rural community like Flagler County attract the international company.
“It’s great for Vidya to choose Florida as it’s first North American operations location. It’s industry that’s badly needed in this part of Florida and is certainly greatly appreciated. When you position yourself in a more rural part of the county, it has immense benefits to the area,” said DiBella.
Bunnell Mayor Catherine Robinson gave credit to city staff and van Eckert for the project’s success, and hopes to continue attracting high quality, high paying jobs to the area though a diverse portfolio of companies.
“This is one of the most exciting things to happen in Bunnell in a long, long time,” said Robinson, a registered dietician with an appreciation for the company’s nature-based products.
“I like the diversity of what’s coming into Bunnell. It’s an exciting time. It’s a clean company, this building’s been sitting here, waiting for them to come, and get their ducks in a row, and today’s that day.”
Van Eckert was instrumental in bringing Vidya Herbs to Florida in 2019 when she served as director of Flagler County economic development office before taking a position as Volusia County’s economic development director.
A proven track record of success, van Eckert has recruited award-winning companies like Coastal Cloud to the area and served the region during a time of tremendous growth and activity in Volusia County, including the expansion of the German-based B. Braun’s US operations in Daytona.
As Vidya Herbs USA’s Vice President of Florida Business Operations, van Eckert is excited about the future.
“Today is a milestone for the company, the city, for the county and myself. The company is really looking forward to becoming engaged with the community, especially the agricultural community as we move forward and grow.”
“This facility will serve as the launch pad for the company’s ambitious manufacturing and R&D growth plans in Florida,” she said. “We look forward to establishing Vidya Herbs USA as a key player in the herbal extracts industry in the state and beyond.”
The facility is located at 7 Otis Stone Hunter Road in Bunnell, Florida off of US 1.