- people on the move
Food maker invests $16M in expansion
An Illinois-based maker of baked goods and snacks plans to expand its local operation again.
Hearthside Food Solutions in Downers Grove, Ill., a contract food maker, received a $300,000 state incentive this week from the Michigan Strategic Fund to expand its Kentwood plant at 3225 32nd St. SE.
Hearthside, which specializes in cookies, granolas, bars and cereals, will invest nearly $16.2 million in the expansion and anticipates creating 66 jobs.
As Hearthside adds a production line to the plant to support increased demand from an existing customer, the company plans to install new processing and packaging equipment, according to a Michigan Strategic Fund memo.
Due to higher costs in Michigan compared to an alternative company location in Kentucky, as well as difficulty finding skilled labor in West Michigan, the company sought a Michigan Business Development Program, or MBDP, incentive package to offset operating and energy prices.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp., or MEDC, approved the request for the $300,000 MBDP performance-based grant to support Hearthside’s growth in West Michigan.
Hearthside Food Solutions previously received a nearly $450,000 MBDP grant in June for a $10.7-million expansion of the same Kentwood plant and the creation of 91 jobs. At the time, the West Michigan location was chosen over competing sites in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
In August, the company acquired VSI, a European producer of nutrition and diet bars, and acquired a nutritional bar plant in Idaho from a subsidiary of Post Holdings.
The company operates 23 plants throughout North America and Europe and has 3 million square feet of combined space designated for bakery manufacturing and packaging.
Hearthside employs more than 7,500 full-time workers.