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Gary Morris will be one of few Food Ingredients Solutions' Springfield plant employees.
Gary Morris will be one of few Food Ingredients Solutions' Springfield plant employees.

N.J. manufacturer picks Springfield for expansion

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Springfield is about to add to its manufacturing roster, as New Jersey-based Food Ingredients Solutions LLC finalizes its plans to build a small plant on the city’s northeast side.

Food Ingredients Solutions, which produces natural food colorings and additives for food and beverage manufacturers, is in negotiations to buy one acre in Northview Industrial Park, owned by Rich Kramer Construction President Rich Kramer. Food Ingredients Solutions would then enlist Kramer’s construction company to build a 13,000-square-foot facility in the 12.8-acre park. Kramer and Food Ingredients Solutions President Jeffrey Greaves said the roughly $900,000 land and construction deal is expected to close by the end of July.

While a real estate broker wasn’t involved in the initial stages of the deal, Kramer said he is represented by RB Murray Co. Five additional sites, ranging from .89 acre to 2.68 acres are still available in the industrial park, Kramer said, which encompasses the 2800 block of north Neergard Avenue and the 2800 block of north Oak Grove. Lot prices range from $96,920 to $303,526.

The development already is occupied by two other tenants, with Buckhorn Inc. leasing about 52,000 square feet of warehouse space. Midwest Concrete Cutting Inc. was the first tenant to purchase space, though its roughly 10,000-square-foot building at 2846 N. Neergard Ave. is now listed for sale with Plaza Realty at $549,000. Midwest Concrete co-owner Amy Johnston said the company is simply looking for a smaller facility.

Kramer said Food Ingredients Solutions is a good match for his development.

 “As far as Northview Industrial Park, it fits the mold for smaller manufacturers or some light distribution, a small business where they cannot go in (Partnership Industrial Center West) because they’re not large enough,” Kramer said.

According to Greg Williams, senior vice president of economic development at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the minimum square footage is 30,000 to build in Partnership Industrial Center West.

Shades of growth
Food Ingredients Solutions, which was founded in 1999 and expects to bring in more than $10 million in sales this year, plans on starting small in Springfield, Greaves said. The company’s Midwest sales manager, an extraction specialist and two plant positions will likely be the only local employees when the plant opens, he said, possibly by October or November.

“We prefer to grow as the business grows,” he said, adding that Midwest sales manager Gary Morris has been working out of a home office in Fair Grove for about four years. Roughly nine months ago, the company leased a small warehouse at 2136 E. Pythian St. to increase response time to customers in its greater Midwest region, which covers Alabama, Arkansas, southern Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas, Morris said.

The Springfield plant will be the second plant for Food Ingredients – its first is in Teterboro, N.J.

 “In the new building, we’re going to be doing basic manufacturing,” he said. “We’ll be adding a new line of products.”
The products, which Morris describes as fruit and vegetable extracts used as colorants, are expected to be available to customers during the first quarter of 2011. The new additions will enhance the existing product line, he said.

“We can create colors from the annatto seed from South America and use it to color cheese orange. We make colors from fruit and vegetable juices that go into new-age beverages like vitamin waters,” Greaves said of the current product line.“ We use color made from a bug to add to yogurts.”

Although company officials declined to name representative clients, citing confidentiality concerns, Greaves said the Food Ingredients serves approximately 300 companies in 10 countries.

The natural products are becoming more popular with food manufacturers, partially due to a study done in the United Kingdom that linked some colorants to attention deficit disorder in children, he said. That study prompted a ban on some non-natural colorants in the U.K., Greaves said, which has caused a lot of companies with international reach to change their formulas.

“Now that a lot of companies are global in scope, they want to have universal formulations,” he said.[[In-content Ad]]

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