New Jersey-based Star Snacks plans to build a manufacturing plant in Bibb County, invest $18 million and create 115 jobs.
The announcement came Monday at the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority meeting, followed by a simultaneous release from the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Star Snacks Co. LLC, a manufacturer and distributor of nuts, trail mixes and dried fruits, will locate a peanut roasting and packaging facility on a 30-acre parcel in Ocmulgee East Industrial Park.
The company will build a 200,000-square-foot facility to roast and distribute peanuts grown in southwest Georgia. The newly created jobs will include positions in manufacturing and processing.
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Construction should begin in a couple of months, Star Snacks project manager Sam Shenker said. It should take 12 to 16 months to build the plant.
The company will be working with the Georgia Department of Labor to find workers, and that process should begin in about 10 months, Shenker said.
“We are excited about establishing our new processing facility in Bibb County,” Star Snacks managing partner Mendel Brachfeld said. “One of the big attractions was the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority team’s capabilities and eagerness to make things happen. In addition, we feel very confident in the local workforce to be able to support our company.”
Brachfeld referred to the construction of the plant as “phase I” and indicated the company expects to expand its Bibb County facility in the future.
The company plans to use a local construction company to build the facility, Brachfeld said. However, he wasn’t ready Monday to name the company that would get the work.
The Industrial Authority agreed to issue revenue bonds not to exceed $20 million to help finance the project as an inducement to bring the company — and the jobs — to Bibb County.
“We are honored to have you guys as a member of the Macon-Bibb community,” authority Chairman Cliffard Whitby said to the company’s representatives as soon as the resolution and memorandum of understanding for the bonds drew unanimous approval from the board.
“Georgia’s business-friendly environment has again attracted a leading manufacturer to invest in our state,” Gov. Nathan Deal said in the release. “In choosing Macon-Bibb County, Star Snacks will enjoy the benefits of locating in the top state for both business and peanut production. Georgia’s skilled workforce and unparalleled economic environment will serve Star Snacks well for the future as the company continues to grow.”
Star Snacks specializes in the production and distribution of salty snacks. The company’s services also include private labeling for brand name retailers, national and regional drug store chains, supermarkets and discount retailers.
Brachfeld said Monday that the company has been using peanuts from Georgia farms for a long time, and that relationship would continue.
“We are thrilled and delighted that you have chosen to come into the Southeast in such a big way and to become a part of the community,” Mayor Robert Reichert said to Brachfeld and Shenker. “We want you to know that not only do we work hard to get you here, (but also) we work hard to make you happy that you have come.”
Star Snacks are sold at many dollar stores, such as Dollar General and Dollar Tree, as well as pharmacies and at major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Aldi and Bed Bath & Beyond, according to a brochure provided by the company. Some of its products are sold under private labels.
“Star Snacks reflects our values as a family-owned business with a proven record of success for over 50 years,” Whitby said. “Expanding Macon-Bibb’s footprint in the snack industry and agribusiness field is a testament to our great location, business-friendly environment and ability to attract more new industry.”
Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, said in the release that snagging the snack company “is another huge win for Macon and the state of Georgia. Our state is known for its agricultural assets, both nationally and internationally, and peanuts are one of our most recognizable Georgia grown products. It is our hope that Star Snacks finds our abundant agricultural resources, skilled workforce and accessibility to markets worldwide beneficial to their operations.”