Construction, Food Service & Agriculture, and Real Estate

Food processor expanding operation

November 8, 2018
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Pearson Foods Grand Rapids
Courtesy Pearson Foods

A local food processor and distributor has expanded its footprint into a second facility and is planning further upgrades.

Grand Rapids-based Pearson Foods said this week it purchased a 20,000-square-foot building next to its existing facility at 1024 Ken-O-Sha Industrial Dr. from Latin American Industries to allow the company to better meet customer demand.

It is also making upgrades to its existing building.

“The expansion … offers us the ability to better serve our core customers with the service, fulfillment and quality they expect,” said Eric Pearson, president, Pearson Foods. “It also positions us for growth by increasing efficiencies, improving quality control and allowing us to expand our value-added offerings.

“We continue to see strong customer demand for items produced at the regional and local level, due to rising transportation costs, labor shortages and a shrewd focus on shrink management.

“Sourcing product from the West Coast means placing orders a week in advance that can lose the customer up to five days of shelf life upon arrival. The freshness and shelf life gained from minimal transit time, custom-designed products with lower case packs and being able to place orders with us until noon each day for next-day delivery truly sets Pearson Foods apart from most national and source-processors.”

Expansion details

Pearson Foods has added more than 600 pallet positions for dry storage in the recently purchased facility through the use of a drive-in racking system and converted 5,000 square feet of the building into food production space.

The rest of the facility will be remodeled to provide additional office space, a new test kitchen for product innovation and additional open meeting space. Pearson Foods did not disclose the timeline for that project.

Meanwhile, the company is converting 12,000 square feet of industrial space inside its existing 65,000-square-foot facility — which currently houses production, warehouses, coolers, docks and corporate offices — into fresh-cut processing space. That project is expected to be completed next month.

By 2020, Pearson Foods plans to add another 20,000 square feet in loading dock and warehouse space at the original facility and automate internal systems “to increase efficiency, accuracy and traceability.”

It did not disclose the architect and contractor on the projects or the real estate brokers on the building deal.

Investment

The $1.5-million total project cost includes the real estate purchase, improvements to both facilities, the 12,000-square-foot fresh-cut food processing space conversion project underway on the original facility and equipment upgrades completed during the past 18 months.

The company will set a separate budget for the loading dock and warehouse expansion and systems automation initiative.

It did not disclose the bank that provided financing.

Hiring

The company expects to add 30 jobs as a result of the various expansions — the bulk of which will be loading dock and warehouse positions when the 2020 expansion is complete.

Pearson is currently hiring for “several” open positions, including machine operators, production managers, line workers and sales personnel.

Pearson Foods

Founded in 1973 and owned by the Pearson family, Pearson Foods is a food processor and distributor of more than 500 products, including fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, meats, deli and other wholesale products.

It has retail, food service and manufacturing customers throughout the U.S.

Its Pearson Logistics division provides dedicated distribution to its customers throughout the Midwest, including third-party, less-than-truckload and full-truckload refrigerated services.

In addition to its Grand Rapids headquarters, Pearson Foods has a processing division in Los Angeles.

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