MONROE – Duke Sandwich Productions is considering investing $5 million to acquire and retrofit the Great American Snacks building on Simpson Street. City and county leaders have offered economic incentives to sweeten the deal.
Great American Snacks announced in June 2018 that it would close Monroe operations in September and move production to other factories. The company cited the “the age of the building and challenging infrastructure.”
Duke Sandwich Productions plans to install state-of-the-art process equipment into the 110,000-square-foot building, according to Evan Mozingo, new projects manager for Monroe-Union County Economic Development.
The company, based in Greenville, S.C., makes food products for supermarkets and restaurants.
“This location is attractive to the company because of its close proximity to the greater Charlotte market,” said Ron Mahle, assistant director for Monroe-Union County Economic Development. “This facility would be used initially for the production of fresh salads, sauces, spreads and dips, in addition to other lines as market demand increases.”
Monroe and Union County each approved economic incentive grants not to exceed $115,000 over five years, beginning in fiscal year 2022.
Representatives with Monroe-Union County Economic Development told city and county leaders that Duke Sandwich Productions was considering other locations and incentives were a very important factor to the company’s decision.
However, a company official told city council that Monroe carried sentimental value to its CEO.
“Actually, we were just considering Monroe because our CEO went to university here,” said Jesus Concepcion, chief human resources officer. “He wanted to put roots here in Monroe.”
CEO Andrew Smart not only graduated from Wingate University in 2001, but he’s also a member of its board of trustees.
Concepcion spoke on behalf of the company at both public hearings.
County Commissioner Jerry Simpson asked Concepcion about the sourcing of the company’s raw materials.
“A lot of our sources are from Atlanta, but we also have sources here in the Monroe area,” Concepcion told county commissioners. “That’s why it just makes sense to bring our business up here.”
The project could start in second quarter 2019, creating 10 new jobs that pay an average of $17 per hour.