As a greenfield plant, SunOpta has been able to take the best of everything from its three other plants and improve them further—from efficiencies and sustainability to sanitary design and safety. Aaron Hand detailed this Manufacturing Innovation Award winner for our August issue.
When SunOpta hit capacity levels at its existing manufacturing facilities, it was time to establish capabilities in a new plant. Despite the company having looked at 180 possible site locations, today it’s hard to see Midlothian, Texas, just outside of Dallas, as anything but a foregone conclusion for the company’s next aseptic manufacturing plant.
“We were super happy with our choice of Midlothian because, not only has the city been great to work with, they have really helped welcome us into the community,” says Chris Whitehair, vice president of operations. “The incentive packages we got were phenomenal. Being able to hire employees, we haven’t had any issues. Our hiring fairs have been super successful, and the caliber of folks we’ve been getting has also been very good.”
Approaching the facility in Midlothian, the town’s growth is apparent, new facilities and residential areas popping up right and left. In fact, Whitehair suspects it would be difficult to get the incentives today that they managed to secure for the site two years ago. SunOpta successfully negotiated with the City of Midlothian and Ellis County for a property tax abatement worth $7.5 million and $500,000 in operation grants contingent upon commencing operations and maintaining full-time jobs.
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SunOpta Takes Aseptic Processing to New Level