Henny Penny celebrates opening of new facility


EATON — Henny Penny celebrated the opening of its newest expansion, its Owners Hall and Wellspring facility on U.S. 35, with an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 7.

Owners Hall provides an events center for employee-owners to gather for company-wide events and other large meetings to increase employee engagement.

Wellspring provides employee-owners access to resources for mental, physical, financial and social well-being including a fitness center and expanded health clinic.

“Welcome to our new Owners Hall,” Henny Penny CEO and Chairman Rob Connelly told those in attendance on Thursday evening. “This is a little over 26,000 square feet. This isn’t our biggest project, but I think it will be most impactful. And I just wanted to provide a little bit of a background on what are we trying to do here and it starts with this: we are trying to significantly, positively, influence impactfully our employee owners, customers and the community.”

“And we’re trying to do that in four ways. The first is what I think has the most impact on people, on our employees and their day-to-day life is having the best place to work and grow. If you can come in, feel valued and appreciated, then you can make a difference and you can grow. Pretty much anything is possible. Without that, nothing is possible. So we start with how do we create — and it’s a journey we’re focused on — how we can be at the best place to work in Preble County,” he said.

Another focus is taking care of customers. “If anybody’s been in a shrinking organization, it doesn’t matter how nice people are. It is conquering and it’s not the best place. Because a thriving company creates the opportunity and the resources to do things. When you’re thriving, you can do anything. When you’re shrinking, you almost can’t do anything. It’s all about timing. So we need to be very focused on how we take care of our customers and make sure we stay well,” he added.

“And we also feel we can be better employer owners. And so we’re looking to figure out how we can help with their physical, mental, emotional, and financial well being.”

We are employee owners because of the generosity of an amazing man, Steve Cobb. Steve Cobb made this possible. He made us employee owners, and it was an incredible gift to the employees, to our customers and to the community. This is where we will meet as owners, where we’ll be engaging, learning about ownership and what we can do and how together we can thrive.

Wellspring is the Owners Hall soulmate, according to Connelly. “It’s putting the resources to our vision of wellbeing,” he said.

Other speakers during the evening spoke of the project’s construction, and its importance to the company, its employee owners and the community.

“What a decade it’s been for Henny Penny,” Preble County Economic Development Director Justin Sommer said. “Most companies don’t make this type of investment over their lifespan. You’ve managed to pack a lot into the last 10 years, starting with the training center in 2014, becoming an employee-owned company in 2015, moving on to the industry research and development center across the street. And of course, here’s the Wellness Center, today.”

“I think there’s more activity happening across the street so more to come,” Sommer continued. “We’ll do this again next year.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to do economic development in a lot of different communities, worked with a lot of companies,” Sommer added. “What I know is that companies don’t make investments into facilities unless they believe that they have an employee base that can help them achieve their goals. And I think it’s no coincidence that we’re standing at a facility that celebrates employees here. Henny Penny’s impacts into Preble County and the City of Eaton that goes far beyond the walls that Bracket Builders puts up. It’s really the engagement that you intentionally make into communities, whether that’s raising money for Girl Scouts, volunteering at the Foodbank, having your employees coach Little League teams…” he said. “I serve on three different nonprofit boards in the community, all with a representative from Henny Penny – a different representative — so I think that shows the level of commitment that you have to ensure that the community is moving forward with you.”

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