GNP Company begins $35 million expansion

Company also announces new organizational structure.

GNP Company, the Midwest’s leading producer of premium natural chicken under the Just BARE and Gold’n Plump brand labels, announced March 30 it has started the first phase of a two-phase expansion plan for its Cold Spring and St. Cloud, Minn., area operations.  At the same time, it shared a new organizational structure for its executive leadership team that better aligns the company’s systems and services. 

“This marks the next stage of a new future and growth plan for GNP Company,” said president Steve Jurek. “These changes underscore our continued commitment—as well as that of our new owner, Maschhoff Family Foods—to investing in the growth of GNP Company’s business and people. It’s truly an exciting time for us.”

The first phase of expansion, which began earlier this month, was expected to cost $35 million.  It includes a building addition and the installation of new equipment to add capacity in the Cold Spring plant’s first processing area, as well as build-up of the company’s hatchery. Plans for the second phase, which may include a building addition and the installation of new technology and equipment to further automate processes, were still in development.  Approval was contingent upon the company’s future business plans, business expectations and customer needs.

If both phases of the expansion are completed, the company said annual plant production capacity will increase by an estimated 33%, which equates to about 88 million more processed pounds of chicken or 352 million more meals per year (based on the recommended serving size of 3 ounces of cooked chicken).  The full expansion was also expected to make the Cold Spring facility one of the most automated meat processing plants in North America.

In preparation for the first phase of expansion, GNP Company has finished and/or started the following projects:

-          Added eight new docks to the distribution center and outbound load staging area; completed a new entrance to reduce truck and automobile congestion and increase safety and security; added a drop-trailer parking area to consolidate parking; and began construction of an additional 28-degree-cooler storage space at the Cold Spring processing plant;

-          Purchased a building in Sauk Rapids for future hatchery growth to support increased production;

-          Expanded the truck shop for its St. Cloud Live Operations; and

-          Developed plans for the addition of up to 72 new barns in the St. Cloud area to provide the additional birds needed to satisfy potential production growth.

The Cold Spring processing plant makes Just BARE and Gold’n Plump chicken products for the premium branded retail business segment and supports new product innovation.  Both are critical to the company’s ability to effectively compete in the marketplace and meet current and future customer expectations, the company said.  Company sales grew to approximately $452 million in 2014 (January through December)—an increase of 13% over 2013.

GNP Company also made recent strategic organizational changes within the company’s executive leadership team. The company said the new organizational design will help achieve the company’s long-term strategies involving product supply, automation, people development, and retail product evolution while offering team members and family farm partners new opportunities for growth.

The executive leadership team now includes an executive vice president of processing and supply, a vice president of sales, marketing and service, a vice president of live operations and engineering, a senior director of human and a senior director of technical services and chief financial officer

The company does not expect the expansion to significantly change the total number of jobs at the Cold Spring plant. Production capacity will be increased primarily through new technology and equipment to automate processes. New growth opportunities for team members will be determined as the expansion plan progresses and new equipment and processes come online.

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