OPELIKA, Alabama – California-based Golden State Foods Corp. has launched construction of a $63 million state-of-the-art meat processing facility in Alabama, expanding its investment in the project announced a year ago.
Company leaders joined state and local officials this morning at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new 165,000-square-foot facility in the Northeast Opelika Industrial Park. The project will create 173 jobs.
Golden State Foods Chairman and CEO Mark Wetterau said the project is significant for his company, which is one of the largest diversified suppliers to the Quick Service Restaurant industry segment and retailers. The company services more than 125,000 restaurants from 45 locations on five continents.
“We started as a small meat company in Los Angeles nearly seven decades ago, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our 70th anniversary next year than with the opening of this meat plant in Opelika,” Wetterau said. “We appreciate the solid partnership of the local civic leadership, and we look forward to providing jobs and community engagement, which is a long-term investment for us.”
When Golden State Foods first announced the project in February 2015, the company said it selected Opelika based on the city’s strategic location along Interstate 85, the available local workforce and the positive atmosphere of industry and government cooperation.
The company’s investment in Alabama has grown to $63 million from the $40 million to $45 million figure initially planned as the size of the Opelika processing facility has expanded.
“Alabama’s economic development team works hard every day to bring great companies like Golden State Foods to our state, and we’ll continue to support this significant project in Opelika to build on the partnership we’ve developed with the company,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller said Golden State Foods’ investment will benefit the Auburn-Opelika metro area, which has been singled out by Forbes, the Milken Institute and others for its economic vitality.
“Today is another great day in the City of Opelika as we welcome our new partner, Golden State Foods,” he said. “We know they will provide great opportunities for our citizens and be a true community partner.”
In a statement, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley praised Golden State for the Opelika project.
“Lee County has experienced a significant increase in economic development projects, and today’s Golden State Foods Corp groundbreaking in Opelika is another important milestone in the county’s job creation efforts,” Governor Bentley said. “Economic development is a true partnership, and our Alabama team works hard to recruit jobs to Alabama. I commend Golden State Foods Corp on its decision to locate in Opelika, and I appreciate the company’s investment in Alabama.”