|Lakeview Farms adding 200 jobs|
|Thursday, May 01, 2014 8:08 PM|
BY NANCY SPENCER
The new building will allow Lakeview Farms, producer of dips, gelatins, cheese spreads, desserts and sour cream, to bring production from its Bristol, Wisconsin, plant to Delphos and add 200 jobs here.
“Much thought and planning went into our decision to consolidate our food processing and move all of our production home to Delphos,” Graves said. “The decision just made sense. We are headquartered here in Delphos, we have access to a talented and skilled workforce, we can house all of our production under one roof and we are able to acquire a facility that provides the space and technology we need to remain competitive in the marketplace.”
Mayor Michael Gallmier said the news was more than welcome.
“We are excited about the announcement,” Gallmeier said. “This is a much-needed boost for Delphos with industry growth, job growth and utility use growth.”
City administration and council have been working with Lakeview Farms on the expansion for nearly a year by stepping aside and letting the project take shape.
“We have known about this for a long time but were unable to say anything until everything fell in to place and Gene was ready,” Gallmeier said. “A project like this takes a lot people working together and sometimes it’s your job to just sit back and let things progress.”
After Reser’s closed the Delphos site in late summer of 2013, Lakeview closely examined the feasibility of consolidating and moving all operations to the Delphos manufacturing facility. After nearly a year of due diligence, Graves said it became clear this was the right decision to ensure the future of the company. It will also help bolster the Delphos economy which suffered a major blow when Reser’s closed its doors.
“Frankly this announcement could not come at a better time for the Delphos,” Graves added.
Reser’s, which had acquired the facility when Chef Solutions filed for bankruptcy, was the city’s second largest employer and one of the city’s biggest users of water.
Allen Economic Development Group President and CEO Jeff Sprague, Allen County Commmissioner Jay Begg, State Senator Keith Faber and Delphos native and JobsOhio Director of Project Management Kristi (Teman) Clouse were also on hand to celebrate the expansion project.
“State, county and local entitites all worked together to make this happen,” Clouse said. “This is a positive day for Delphos, Allen County and Ohio. We always stress business retention and expansion and attracting new business. Lakeview Farms is a great community partner. The employees live in the community and send their children to school here. I’m glad we could put the pieces together.
“This is an emotional day for me as well,” Clouse continued. “I’ve seen the impact on family and friends when Delphos suffered job losses. JobsOhio couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this project.”
Lakeview Farms will invest more than $12 million into the former Reser’s building in the form of capital improvements and new technology. Crews will begin to retrofit the plant immediately with the renovation slated for completion by the end of the year.
Lakeview will be assisted by a group headed by local contractor and real estate owner Keith Pohlman.
Delphos’ gain is also Bristol’s loss. As a result of the consolidation, Lakeview Farms will close its Wisconsin facility.
“It’s never an easy decision to move jobs when you know it’s going to impact people’s quality of life,” Graves said.
Approximately 200 Bristol plant workers will be impacted by the move.
“Their well-being and the well-being of their families is of paramount importance to us,” Graves added. “They will be taken care of.”
Graves met with the Bristol staff earlier this week. Production at that facility will continue through the transition to ensure business remains uninterrupted for Lakeview customers.
Once renovations to the local plant are complete, the current manufacturing operation on Gressel Drive as well as the company’s headquarters on East Second Street will all relocate to the new site. Lakeview currently employs 225 people at its Delphos manufacturing facility.