Reser’s Fine Foods, a manufacturer of freshly prepared foods, will build a new 300,000-square-foot prepared salad plant in Topeka, KS. The company intends to invest $86.5 million and create a total of 180 jobs through a two-phase project.
“Reser’s roots run deep in Topeka,” said President Mark Reser. “Our family and the company have been connected to the city for decades, and our long-standing partnership with the community has fueled the company’s growth. This new plant reinforces our continued commitment to this community today and into the future.”
Phase One will result in a $67 million capital investment and the creation of 40 jobs in a new state-of-the-art plant. The company plans to break ground in the spring of 2017. In Phase Two, Reser’s will make a facility investment totaling $19.5 million and create 140 new jobs. Phase Two has an anticipated completion date of fall 2019. Currently, Reser’s has 1,100 employees at the Topeka campus, 390 of whom work in the prepared salad plant.
The new prepared salad plant will not only support the sustained growth Reser’s has experienced over the past several years, but will also position the company for future expansion. All manufacturing activities and jobs at the existing prepared salad plant will move to the new facility in January 2018.
The new facility is being designed to incorporate enhanced flexibility and innovations in food manufacturing to fulfill the varied demands of the marketplace. In the past 25 years, Reser’s has built two plants and expanded both locations multiple times, built a truck shop, and most recently added a large-scale, high-tech distribution center.
The Joint Economic Development Organization (JEDO) approved a maximum incentive total of $665,000 for the project: $329,000 for capital investment and $336,000 for job creation. The incentives are performance based and will be paid over a five-year period.
“Reser’s Fine Foods and other manufacturing companies can provide a gateway for employees to learn new skills and have opportunities to advance through the ranks while accruing full benefits,” said Shelly Buhler, JEDO chair and Shawnee County Commission chair. “These new positions will allow employees to secure sustainable employment and access additional training.”
According to Mayor Larry Wolgast, an impact analysis study showed that the company’s investment will have a one-time $115 million benefit to the city and county. Additionally, the recurring impact is estimated at $90 million each year as long as the 180 jobs are maintained.
“Reser’s Fine Foods has been an exemplary employer in our community since its inception,” said Wolgast. “We are pleased that they have chosen to expand their presence again on the city’s east side to provide more jobs to people in our community.”
Reser’s Fine Foods is not the only company that has elected to expand in the region recently, according to Scott Griffith, GO Topeka chair.
“Tonight’s announcement marks yet another JEDO meeting this year in which area employers have come forward with plans for adding jobs and upgrading facilities—FHLBank Topeka, se2, Futamura USA and now Reser’s Fine Foods,” said Griffith. “We are fortunate to have these committed companies contributing to our county’s economic vitality.”
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