The Secret Ingredient To This Pizza Manufacturer's Recipe For Success? Location, Specifically Wheeling.
Braintree, MA-based Richelieu Foods recently expanded its manufacturing capacity with its move into a 115k SF food grade facility in Wheeling, IL, in July.
We caught up with Village of Wheeling economic development director John Melaniphy, who feels Richelieu Foods was an even bigger catch than his 46-inch Musky. Richelieu's long-term lease started July 6, and its positive impact on the local economy is already felt by many.
Bisnow: How are Wheeling’s “geographic location, superior infrastructure and strong labor market” mentioned by Richelieu Foods CEO Tim O’Connor helping the company?
John: Richelieu Foods operates an existing facility in Elk Grove Village, so there were economies of scale with a plant in Wheeling. The ability to attract and retain a robust labor force was a key factor in its site selection decision-making process.
The proximity to local supplies and the roadway network for distribution was also key, as they wanted to be close to their cheese and crust manufacturers.
The transportation infrastructure was a major consideration too. O’Hare International Airport, Chicago Executive Airport and the interstate system are all close and readily accessible.
Bisnow: What about the 115k SF site in particular attracted the company?
John: That facility at 120 West Palatine Road was previously operated by Orval Kent Foods. Its size, layout, electric power, ceiling heights, loading docks, parking, office space and accessibility combined made it the perfect fit for Richelieu Foods. They also plan to expand their product lines in the future, enabled by the space, which can accommodate up to three production lines.
Bisnow: Is the site considered fully operational?
John: The plant is fully operational with tentative plans for a second production line next year.
Bisnow: Is Richelieu happy it made the move?
John: Richelieu Foods is enamored with the location and the partnership with the Village of Wheeling. It held a ribbon-cutting ceremony (shown above) on Sept. 6 with congressman Bob Dold, Gov. Bruce Rauner (speaking) and Village president Dean Argiris, among other dignitaries and Wheeling’s Village Board.
The congressman and governor’s assistance were instrumental in enticing Richelieu to Wheeling, as it was considering locations in five states. We extended a personal invitation to the CEO. None of the other states displayed a unified regional approach to economic development.
Bisnow: What else does Wheeling offer it? How is Richelieu, in turn, enhancing the community? Do you consider the relationship symbiotic?
John: Richelieu Foods has already added approximately 125 jobs in Wheeling and will augment this total with the introduction of a second shift at the facility.
There was already a Class 6b property tax incentive approved for the facility with Orval Kent Foods. Richelieu Foods simply had to occupy the building to reinstate it.
The Village did not offer any new incentives other than our promise to expedite the building permit approvals and inspections to help them open by July to meet their timeline.
Richelieu Foods has not only invested in Wheeling while creating new jobs, they’ve also partnered with the Village and the Wheeling Prospect Heights Chamber of Commerce to produce community events.
Richelieu Foods sponsored the Rock the Runway Fourth of July event at Chicago Executive Airport in 2016. The residents and visitors to Wheeling enjoyed live entertainment, food, spirits and a spectacular fireworks show.
Richelieu Foods is a great corporate citizen to the Village of Wheeling and we will value our partnership for many years to come.
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