Company to invest $34 million and create 54 new jobs
RICHMOND Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that McKee Foods Corporation will invest $34 million to expand production at its manufacturing facility in Stuarts Draft in Augusta County. Virginia successfully competed against Arkansas for the project, which will create 54 new jobs.
McKee Foods manufacturing operation in Augusta County has thrived for 24 years, and with this tremendous investment and expansion will continue to produce new products and increase efficiency and productivity, said Maurice Jones, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. The company has continued to re-invest in its Stuarts Draft operation over the past decades, and this expansion is a great testament to McKees commitment and success in Augusta County and in the Commonwealth.
McKee Foods, a family bakery with annual sales of about $1.2 billion, is a privately held company based in Collegedale, Tenn. The McKee Foods story began during the height of the Great Depression when founder O.D. McKee began selling 5-cent snack cakes from the back of his car. Soon after, he and his wife, Ruth, bought a small, failing bakery, using the family car as collateral. Today, the company employs more than 5,000 people in Collegedale, Tenn.; Gentry, Ark.; Stuarts Draft, Va.; and Kingman, Ariz. It creates and produces Little Debbie Snacks, Drakes Cakes, Sunbelt Bakery snacks and cereals, Heartland and Fieldstone Bakery food products.
McKee Foods has had a longstanding commitment to manufacturing in Virginia, said Randy Smith, vice president of Stuarts Draft operations for McKee Foods. The business climate in the Commonwealth is very favorable, and we have found Stuarts Draft to be geographically well-positioned to serve the markets for our brands. The Commonwealth is very business friendly, and there is a wonderful population of people to recruit to work with us. We are proud to be here and to be expanding our production capacity.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Augusta County and the Shenandoah Valley Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $300,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program, an incentive available to existing Virginia companies. Additional funding and services to support the companys employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.