An Eldon-based ice cream manufacturer is expanding south to Lebanon, a move that means millions of dollars’ worth of investment and more than a hundred new jobs.
Ice Cream Factory owners Shannon and Katie Imler announced plans for a manufacturing plant in the city through a video on Facebook yesterday.
"We've taken a huge gamble. We've put it all on the line," Shannon Imler said in the video. "This plant will allow us buy milk from local dairy farmers, it will allow us to make more ice cream for the customers and it will allow us to expand farther than we are now."
Shannon Imler said the company has outgrown its current Eldon facility, which will remain in place for the company to make baked goods. Beyond production space, the new plant in Lebanon at 1201 Kansas St. will have a retail and tourism component where customers can buy ice cream on-site and watch it being made, he said.
A news release issued yesterday by the city of Lebanon indicated Ice Cream Factory plans to invest $9 million on the project, creating 130 jobs over the next five years.
“We are thrilled that the Imler family has chosen Lebanon as the new home base for Ice Cream Factory,” Lebanon Mayor Jared Carr said in the release. “This investment in Lebanon will be great for our community and help bring more diversification to our local economy."
Ice Cream Factory has purchased a more than 86,000-square-foot former industrial facility and adjacent properties in Lebanon. The building constructed in the late 1940s previously was used by Mid-Am Dairy.
"We cannot wait to bring dairy processing back to Lebanon, Missouri," Shannon Imler said in the Facebook video.
A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for early March, with completion targeted by summer 2023, according to the release.
Launched in 2019, Ice Cream Factory's products are carried by more than 1,000 retailers and sold in 16 states. With a focus on locally sourced ingredients, the company's products include flavors such as Cobalt Cookie, Gooey Butter Cake and Strawberry Cheesecake.
The expanded facility is expected to reach annual revenue of $650M.