Allen Harim, a leading producer and processor of "no antibiotics ever" chicken in the Delmarva region, will be moving its corporate headquarters to just outside Millsboro, Del., at the former Vlasic pickle plant it purchased in 2014.
The company has hired Delmarva Veteran Builders (DVB), a company based in Salisbury, Md., to oversee construction of the new headquarters. DVB hires primarily veterans for construction projects and has promised that the new office space should be ready for occupancy by the first quarter of 2018.
"We are honored to have been chosen to be a part of this project," said Chris Eccleston, president of DVB and a U.S. Navy veteran. "This is another great project that will help put veterans to work, and we applaud Allen Harim's continued investment on Delmarva and their commitment to our veterans."
The project will involve extensive interior renovations of about 20,000 sq. ft. of space for the 50 employees who work in the company's headquarters. Plans call for improvements to the exterior façade, and the company is exploring the use of solar energy to help power at least part of the facility.
Other uses of the 460,000 sq. ft. building will include a consignment warehouse operation that will store boxes and other packaging materials from International Paper and other vendors that are used in the Allen Harim production process.
"This is an exciting time for our company as we approach our 100th anniversary on Delmarva in 2019," Allen Harim president and chief executive officer Joe Moran said. "Seaford has been our home for the past century, but it's time to look forward to the future and where this company is heading. We've outgrown our space in Seaford (Del.), and this location puts us closer to our processing plant in Harbeson (Del.) and our brand new hatchery in Dagsboro, which should be finished by next fall. This is an ideal location that gives us an opportunity to create a more modern and efficient workspace, and we look forward to the next 100 years for Allen Harim."
The company also plans to house a deboning operation in about 50,000 sq. ft. of the facility, where chicken that has already been processed at its Harbeson processing plant will be deboned and repackaged for customers. No additional chickens will need to be processed in Harbeson to accommodate the deboning operation.
"This is work that's already being done outside of the state, and we're excited to be bringing that work back to Delaware," Moran said. "We will be creating about 165 jobs in Millsboro and bringing back economic activity to our home state."
Moran said the company is keeping the promise it made in late 2015 to not use the plant as a slaughter facility. The deboning process uses just a fraction of the water used in a traditional slaughter plant, and perhaps most important, the company said it is committed to upgrading the wastewater treatment process to provide an environmentally friendly solution.
"We listened to the neighbors and heard their concerns. Ultimately, we are working toward the goal of getting out of the stream," Moran said.