The president of BEF Foods ceremoniously cut the ribbon Tuesday morning on the most recent expansion at the Sulphur Springs’ Bob Evans food production plant, which has tripled the facilities’ size since it was purchased in 2003. In December 2003, Bob Evans acquired the 50,000-square-foot facility on East Industrial Drive, which initially employed more than 100 workers. Within six years, the company announced its first expansion, which doubled the plant’s capacity with an additional 50,000-square-feet. Today, the facility officially added another 57,000-square-foot expansion, which will double the output of the plant. President of BEF Foods Mike Townsley said with the new expansion, production will increase from the original 17.3 million pounds of food annually to 56 million pounds of foods over the next year. Specifically, the plant produces sandwiches, tacos and burritos, patties, cooked links and handheld breakfast bakes for retail, foodservice and convenience store distributin under the Owens Foods and Bob Evans Farms brands. In addition, the plant has capabilities to produce items such as Crumbles, skinless links, gravies and soups. The expansion means new jobs will be available for Hopkins County workers. “We found a work force that understands food production, and with a deep training infrastructure we can bring economic development and growth to our community,” said Townsley. Currently, the plants employs 250 workers, and Townsley said that because of Bob Evans’ continued local growth, new jobs will be available. “With the additional 57,000-square-feet and two new production lines, we will double our capacity,” said Townsley. The new expansion has roughly cost the company $34 million with a total capacity of 160,000 square feet.
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