Leclerc Foods will establish its U.S. headquarters and expand its production operations in Kingsport, TN. The Canada-based food manufacturer is investing approximately $49 million to establish a second facility in Kingsport and create 105 new jobs. The new facility will include a new manufacturing line for granola bars, warehousing and distribution space, as well as Leclerc Foods’ U.S. headquarters operations.
“We have chosen to operate a second plant in Kingsport because this acquisition fits our business vision and corporate development strategy,” said Jean-Sébastien Leclerc, vice president of co-manufacturing and manufacturing infrastructure at Leclerc Foods. “This plant will manufacture certified gluten-free products exclusively. It will allow us to position ourselves near our U.S. clients and meet their specifics needs.”
Leclerc Foods currently employs around 100 Tennesseans in its existing Kingsport plant, which produces crackers and cookies. It will continue operations at its first Kingsport facility, which opened in 2008 and has undergone two prior expansions. The company employs more than 650 people in six facilities and distributes its cookie, snack bar, and cracker products to roughly 20 different countries.
Leclerc Foods’ expansion in Kingsport is driven by increased market demand in the U.S. As part of the expansion, Leclerc Foods plans to renovate and upgrade an existing building. The work to rehab the facility will begin by the end of 2016. Leclerc Foods anticipates the renovations will be completed in by mid-2017.
“Leclerc Foods’ decision to bring its U.S. headquarters to Kingsport is a prime example of our economic development efforts hitting on all cylinders,” said Gov. Bill Haslam. “Since first establishing a new manufacturing plant in Kingsport eight years ago, Leclerc Foods has expanded considerably. Now, Leclerc Foods is doubling its Kingsport workforce and adding high quality office jobs that will have an even bigger impact on Sullivan County.”
“Companies in the food and beverage industry have invested more than $2 billion in Tennessee during the past six years, creating more than 6,500 jobs,” said Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd. “Leclerc Foods has been an important part of this thriving sector, growing to employ around 100 Tennesseans. More and more international companies like Leclerc Foods want to do business in Tennessee because our skilled workforce and favorable business environment offer them tremendous growth opportunities.”
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