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Ilex Organics Plans Clarksdale, Mississippi, Operations Complex

Ilex Organics, supplier of Yaupon tea and Mississippi-grown catfish fillets, is investing $2.612 million to locate operations in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The project is expected to create 60 jobs.

Coahoma County is leasing the company a 38,000-square-foot facility located in the Leonard Pharr Industrial Park. According to the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), Ilex partnered with Florida-based Yaupon Brothers, which pioneered the cultivation and processing of Yaupon plants for consumer tea products. Yaupon Brothers currently is one of the largest farmers of Yaupon trees in the U.S.

“When my husband and I moved back to the Mississippi Delta after nearly 30 years away, we found an inclusive community and an abundant opportunity to thrive. With the efficient and tireless work of the Crossroads Economic Partnership and the Mississippi Development Authority working to make Clarksdale the capital of Yaupon tea, we were pleased to discover that Mississippi is open for innovation and business for all people,” Ilex Founder Oliver Luckett explained.

The Mississippi Development Authority is providing assistance for building improvements and workforce training. The Crossroads Economic Partnership, Coahoma County, and the City of Clarksdale have played a significant role in developing the project.

“The announcement of Ilex’s new operations in Clarksdale continues the momentum we have experienced throughout the year of companies investing in our communities and creating jobs for Mississippians. While known for the blues, Clarksdale also is home to a dedicated workforce with a commitment to quality, and there is no doubt these 60 individuals will work hard to ensure Ilex’s success in Coahoma County,” MDA Interim Executive Director Laura Hipp noted.

The company is also partnering with Mississippi catfish producers with the intention of purchasing premium catfish fillets and labeling and distributing them in Clarksdale. Ilex’s distribution channels include: Seattle Fish, Santa Monica Seafood, Samuels & Sons, Euclid Seafood, Fortune Fish, e-commerce giant Amazon and Crowd Cow.

“As the local economic developer, I am so very grateful to the Mississippi Development Authority and the state of Mississippi for their outstanding support of this project. Likewise, the abundant local support of our county and city has been critical to the success of establishing Ilex Organics in Clarksdale. Finally, we are honored that Oliver Luckett and his team chose Clarksdale in which to locate their innovative, forward-thinking company,” noted Crossroads Economic Partnership Executive Director Jon Levingston.

Started in 2020 by entrepreneur and Mississippi native Oliver Luckett, Ilex will sell a variety of flavors of Yaupon tea, which will be produced and bagged in Clarksdale, as well as Mississippi-grown catfish fillets, which will be labeled and distributed in Clarksdale.

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