Ilex Organics, supplier of Yaupon tea and Mississippi-grown catfish fillets, is locating operations in Clarksdale. The project is a $2.612 million corporate investment and will create 60 jobs.
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. Coahoma County is leasing Ilex a 38,000-square-foot facility located in the Leonard Pharr Industrial Park.
Luckett 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. Ilex also is 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.
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.
Ilex plans to begin operations at their Clarksdale facility upon completion of its new plant and expects to fill the 60 jobs in the next two years.
Governor Tate Reeves said, “The creation of 60 jobs in Clarksdale by Ilex will have a tremendous impact on the local community and economy for many years to come. With Clarksdale’s accessibility to the FedEx distribution hub, the area’s strong workforce, and its proximity to the freshest catfish in the country, Coahoma County provides all of the competitive advantages Ilex needs for years of success.”