Pickle plant coming to Bibb County, creating 50 jobs

lmorris@macon.comFebruary 3, 2014 

A sliced-pickle plant is coming to Bibb County, bringing an expected $8.5 million investment and creating up to 50 jobs.

Mr. Chips Inc., a subsidiary of Pinconning, Mich.-based Bay View Food Products Co., makes and packages sliced pickles and relish mainly for institutional uses such as schools, fast food chains and salad makers, said Pat Topping, senior vice president of the Macon Economic Development Commission.

The company is buying the former 120,000-square-foot Plastican building on about 10 acres at 101 Lillian Drive, Topping said. It also is buying a 32.51-acre site at nearby 555 Joe Tamplin Blvd.

“(The larger site is where Mr. Chips) will have a processing center, a grading center and a tank farm,” he said. “The cucumber pickles are stored in the tanks and cured, and then when they are ready, they will be pulled out and ... taken over to the Lillian Drive building” to be sliced and packaged.

The company plans to build a smaller building on the Joe Tamplin Boulevard site, Topping said. Mr. Chips also has an option to buy another vacant, 30-acre site adjacent to the Joe Tamplin property.

The company is expected to begin renovating the Lillian Drive building within the next few months, he said.

Mr. Chips selected Macon because of its proximity to the Southeast markets, Joseph Janicke, president of Mr. Chips and Bay View Foods, said in an email.

“We are targeting production to start the beginning of 2015,” he said.

The Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority agreed Monday to a memorandum of understanding to sell the company some property in the Ocmulgee East Industrial Park. Also, the authority agreed to issue a manufacturing bond for up to $10 million and a 10-year tax abatement on any new facility the company builds. The company would still pay about $550,000 in taxes during that period, Topping said.

The company has been working with Topping for more than two years on a possible location, he said. It considered other sites in Georgia and in Alabama before choosing the east Bibb County location.

Timco Aviation adds more jobs than expected

Also Monday, the authority heard an update Monday regarding a grant from the One Georgia Authority approved in 2010 for Timco Aviation Services in Macon.

“The commitment was to retain 128 jobs and to create 130 jobs,” said Stephen Adams, project manager for the authority.

“That retain number was met, and the create number was 209. We are very thankful for the job creation.”

Timco overhauls and maintains every part of an airplane except for internal engine parts.

The grant helped bring some wide-body Boeing 767 airplane work to Timco at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport, said Keith Statzer, vice president and general manager, who attended the meeting to thank the authority for its assistance in getting the grant.

“We have had a customer change. We have serviced United Airlines for the last year and had a banner year last year,” Statzer said. “(Timco) had a very good year from a profitability standpoint. ... So, it has been a win-win for us.”

Mayor Robert Reichert ask Statzer what airport improvements it needed to help the company or any other companies at the airport. Statzer said almost all the planes it works on need to have “engine runs,” and it uses the airport runways to do that. Sometimes, the runway it needs is closed for other air traffic and that delays Timco’s work.

“Growth at the airport is a necessity,” he said. “You would have to build a runway.”

Topping said a study by Nashville, Tenn.-based Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon Inc. commissioned by the city of Macon includes the requirements of companies, such as Timco and Bombardier Inc., that use the runways for airplane maintenance work.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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