Waffle Maker May Shutter Atlanta Plant Amid Grant Dispute
A company that had planned to produce 580 million waffles a year from a Fulton County factory is threatening to close the plant unless it can iron out funding from the government.
Batter Up Foods filed a notice this week that it plans to lay off 110 workers at its plant at 5601 Bucknell Drive by May 26, according to a Workforce Adjustment and Retraining Notification filing with the Technical College System of Georgia.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced in 2020 that the Rochester, New York-based food maker would invest $34M to refurbish an older manufacturing facility in Metro Atlanta and hire up to 162 workers.
But Batter Up CEO Mike Pinkowski said Fulton County has yet to deliver on a $500K grant it promised to help update equipment in the 102K SF facility 11 miles west of Atlanta, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported. That delay, plus rising power costs, have Batter Up looking to move its plant to other states, Pinkowski told the ABC.
He said the funds were to help pay to update outdated packaging equipment at the facility, but Batter Up has been unable to get the new equipment. As a result, the manufacturer has racked up almost $2M in customer deduction fines and more than $500K in unpaid invoices from BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings for incomplete customer orders, according to the ABC.
A spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Economic Development said Batter Up hasn't completed all the steps to receive the grant, and it can’t move forward on titling the new machinery. According to the ABC, Georgia requires financial due diligence of grant recipients and requires assets that will be purchased by the grant proceeds to be publicly titled.
“Since the contracts were signed, the State and the Development Authority of Fulton County have frequently followed up with the company and its representatives to try and move the grant application forward,” the spokesperson told the ABC.
Pinkowski said the title change on the machinery as required by the state would be “owned by a separate entity not controlled by Batter Up Foods, making it impossible to fulfill their paperwork demands.”