Economic Development, Manufacturing, and Real Estate

Global food maker scoops up distribution center

November 7, 2013
| By Pete Daly |
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Global food maker scoops up distribution center
Yoplait is one of the many brands by the Minneapolis-based food-making giant General Mills. Photo via fb.com

One of the world’s largest food companies is planning to open a distribution center for its yogurt products in southwest Michigan.

General Mills plans to lease a 155,000-square-foot space from Midlink Business Park in Comstock Township and create 27 jobs over the next two years.

A developer for General Mills is expected to start construction this week at the center, and it’s expected to be operational by July 2014, according to Jennifer Owens, a vice president at Southwest Michigan First, an economic development agency.

Minneapolis-based General Mills is best known for its breakfast cereal, such as Cheerios, but also owns various brands: Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more.

In fiscal 2013, it had worldwide sales of $17.8 billion.

General Mills said it selected the southwest Michigan location for its strategic geographical location.

“Comstock Township is a great location for this new facility, strategically enhancing overall supply chain logistics for General Mills,” said Kevin Schoen, vice president, North American Logistics at General Mills. “We greatly appreciate the support of the local community and state officials, and we can’t wait to have our new Comstock facility in operation.”

Incentives

Comstock Township has supported the project with a 10 year real and personal property tax abatement valued at $1,526,000.

Kalamazoo County will contribute $1,523,900 in combined Brownfield and local incentives.

The State of Michigan provided a state education tax abatement valued at $371,000 in support. 

Regional teamwork

“I am excited about General Mills choosing Comstock Township and establishing roots in our community,” said Ann Nieuwenhuis, Comstock Township Supervisor. “This project brings along job opportunities, utilization of the highest and best use of its chosen location at the Midlink Business Park, as well as an increase in our tax base, especially for the Comstock Public Schools.

"It was a pleasure to be able to coordinate and bring together various local and state government entities and establish a solid working relationship with General Mills and their contractors,” added Nieuwenhuis.

The distributor center is “another great example of many public, private partnerships, led by Southwest Michigan First, to grow jobs and our regional economy,” said Peter Battani, Kalamazoo County administrator.

General Mills is “recognized across the world for its leadership, and its choice of Michigan for new investment and job creation underscores our state's strategic importance in the food industry," said Michael A. Finney, president and CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Finney added that the distribution center “signals Michigan's leadership in manufacturing food products and bringing those products to market."

Southwest Michigan First “thanks General Mills for embracing the combined efforts of our regional partners to attract the company to Southwest Michigan,” said Ron Kitchens, CEO of Southwest Michigan First.

“We look forward to working with the company as it builds out its location in Comstock Township and begins to engage with our local workforce in lean manufacturing practices,” Kitchens said.

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