Plymouth-based cheese producer Sargento Foods plans to invest $30 million in the expansion of its plant in Kiel and its technical center in Elkhart Lake.
Sargento plans to add 80,000 square feet to its Kiel factory to include more production space, storage and employee facilities that include a health and wellness center, and enough locker space to grow to 720 employees over the next five years. There are currently 540 employees in Kiel.
In Elkhart Lake, Sargento plans to build a 59,000-square-foot addition, more than doubling its size and offering space for engineering, research and product development.
The projects are expected to create a total of 140 new jobs at the facilities and at the headquarters in Plymouth. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has approved $735,000 in state tax credits to help fund the projects, which it would be eligible for through 2018, contingent upon the number of jobs created.
Sargento is a third-generation family company that manufactures, packages and markets natural shredded, sliced and snack cheeses and other foods.
“My grandfather and father built Sargento from a small cheese gift shop into the $1.3 billion national company it is today, thanks to the dedication and hard work of our employees over the past 62 years,” said company CEO Louie Gentine. “We are committed to growth in this area that will benefit the entire Sargento family of employees and all of our other stakeholders—suppliers, customers and community.”
“WEDC is pleased to be able to assist an iconic family-owned company like Sargento Foods with this expansion project, and we salute the company for its continued commitment to growing in Wisconsin,” said Reed Hall, secretary and chief executive officer of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “Wisconsin is the number one cheese-producing state in the country with an annual production of nearly 2.8 billion pounds, and this expansion will further solidify our strength in this key industry.”