NEW BROCKTON, Ala. (WDHN) — Coffee County is about to get a boost to its economy following an announcement from Gov. Kay Ivey Wednesday.
Ben E. Keith, the eight largest foodservice distributor in the United States, is set to open a $100 million foodservice distribution center in the county, giving providing jobs to the citizens of New Brockton.
“The project will create 80 direct jobs over the next five years and provide an economic boost to New Brockton, a town of around 1,100 people in southeastern Alabama,” a release from the governor’s office states. “Ben E. Keith also plans to expand its manufacturing facilities at Kelley Foods, located in nearby Elba.”
The new facility will have an area of 425,000 square feet but will have the ability to expand to $1 million if needed. In addition to its food service function, the center will serve as the company’s Southeast Regional Headquarter.
Ben E. Keith began its foothold in Alabama after buying out Kelley Foods in Elba, a business started in 1957 that now has 230 workers. This led to the company to see Coffee County as having potential.
“When we acquired Kelley Foods in 2016, we saw it as our gateway to expand in the southeast to better serve new and existing customers and to uncover new opportunities,” said Mike Sweet, president of Ben E. Keith Foods. “We are deeply committed to the communities of Alabama in which we live, work and serve, and we look forward to many more years of shared success.”
Across the nation, Ben E Keith operates eight divisions that ship to 15 states.
Wiregrass officials said this new investment will help bring opportunities to citizens.
“Coffee County is proud to continue our relationship with Ben E. Keith and honored to serve as the site of their Southeast Regional Headquarters,” County Commission Chairman Dean Smith said. “It is always gratifying when our existing corporate partners make such a substantial new investment in our community.”
“Ben E. Keith has an impeccable reputation and is a perfect fit for Coffee County and for Alabama,” added Jonathan Tullos, executive director of the Wiregrass Economic Development Corp.
Ivey said this will not only benefit the people of Coffee County but provide a new opportunity for the company to expand its operations in Alabama.
“We welcome the decision by Ben E. Keith, one of the nation’s largest family-owned distribution companies, to significantly expand its presence in Alabama with a new, state-of-the-art facility in Coffee County,” Governor Ivey said. “The investment in the New Brockton facility will not only create good jobs in that community but also provide a springboard for this first-rate company to continue to grow in Alabama.”
Construction for the New Brockton facility will start around this upcoming December and is expected to be finished by December 2021.