Food service products distributor Ben E. Keith said Tuesday that it will spend $60 million on a North Little Rock plan, adding 74 jobs to its local workforce at an average wage of $33.75 per hour.
Company executives made the announcement with Governor Mike Beebe at the state Capitol.
In a news release, the company, which already employs 260 in Little Rock, said it would invest the money in building a 300,00 square foot facility that will be it Mid-South Regional Headquarter. Mike Roach, president of Ben E. Keith Foods, said construction is expected to begin by midsummer and take 18-20 months.
The expansion is helped along by a $1.5 million grant to the City of North Little Rock through the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration. The company is also getting $2.47 million from the governor's Quick Action Fund and normal performance incentives for new jobs.
"We are delighted in the progress of our plans to construct this new state-of-the-art distribution center in North Little Rock," Roach said. "We are excited about enlarging our base of operations in Arkansas, and this new center will allow us to greatly expand our product line and better serve our thousands of valued clients in this market."
The EDA grant will help North Little Rock purchase generators and other necessary equipment for installation along the major North Little Rock intersection of Highway 79 and Interste 440 where the facility will be located. In addition to serving the Ben E. Keith plant, the added energy capacity will also help other businesses that might locate nearby.
"This is truly an investment for the future," Matt Erskine, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce, said at the Tuesday announcement. "And it's an investment that is important to the continued revitalization of North Little Rock."
Story by Lee Hogan from Arkansas Business Weekly Report.