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Manufacturing

Food manufacturer sets up Walterboro operations

Manufacturing
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Companies are always announcing what they plan to do — investments they intend to make and employees they intend to hire. Gehl Foods LLC on Tuesday announced what they’ve already done.

Gehl Foods LLC's main facilities are in Wisconsin. (Photo/Gehl Foods)The food and manufacturing company is already operating in Walterboro at a new facility creating products found on grocery shelves.

The company’s $46 million investment in the Colleton County town will create 106 jobs when operations are at full capacity, the company said in a news release from the Commerce Department.

“Gehl Food & Beverage Southeast is an ideal fit for further building on our growth in shelf-stable beverages while maximizing our supply chain,” Craig Lemieux, CEO of Gehl Foods LLC, said in the news release. “We look forward to the many opportunities that will come with the addition of our newest location in Walterboro.”

Founded in 1896, Gehl Food & Beverage Companies produces dairy-based and dairy alternative shelf-stable beverages, cheese sauces, soups, broths, teas, wine and spirits and other products. Located at 181 Crescent Way in Walterboro, the company has opened Gehl Food & Beverage Southeast, its first East Coast operation. The company also has facilities in the Midwest (Gehl Food & Beverage) and the West Coast (California Natural Products).  Gehl Foods did not say specifically what is being manufactured in Walterboro.

The company website says Gehl makes products that can be found in “nearly every retailer, convenience store concession stand and health food store across the country.” The company specializes in developing “aseptic solutions” that keep food and beverages, including dairy products, fresh and safe for a long shelf life without refrigeration.

An employee monitors tea quality in the company's California plant. (Photo/Gehl Foods)“On behalf of our state’s booming agribusiness industry, I’m pleased to welcome Gehl Food & Beverage Southeast to South Carolina,” S.C. Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers said in the release. “This storied agribusiness company will enhance our reputation as a great place for food manufacturing, along with creating new jobs.”   The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project.  
“Every good job provides a brighter future for a family, and we appreciate Gehl Food & Beverage Southeast’s investment in our community,” Colleton County Council Chairman Steve Murdaugh said in the release. “We are pleased that Gehl Food & Beverage Southeast chose Colleton County, which provides an outstanding distribution location on I-95 with easy access to major seaports and our outstanding workforce.”
According to Colleton County Economic Alliance Chairman Lee Petrolawicz, Walterboro is halfway between New York and Miami on Interstate 95.

In 2015, Gehl Foods said the company had been acquired by investment firm Wind Point Partners. At that time they reported sales at $250 million for the prior year.

Reach Ross Norton at 864-720-1222.

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