November 30, 2011

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

Opelika Targets Food and Beverage Manufacturers

By Chris Anthony - Opelika-Auburn News

The Opelika Industrial Development Authority has selected Primus Builders and Garner Economics to perform a site analysis at Northeast Opelika Industrial Park to determine its ability to attract food and beverage manufacturers.

Citing growth in the food and beverage sector, Opelika is pursuing food site certification at the park as the city targets the expanding industry. More than 28,000 companies in the U.S. — employing more than 1.4 million people — define themselves as food and beverage manufacturers, according to Opelika’s Economic Development Department.

The companies say the analysis will help in Opelika’s pursuit of manufacturers in the food and beverage industry.

“Speed to market continues to be an important factor with our clients in selecting sites or buildings. When we evaluate a community for one of our food clients, we analyze hundreds of variables that our clients consider important in the selection process,” said Tony Pitrone, vice president of Primus Builders, and Jay Garner, president of Garner Economics, in a combined statement. “By having a Primus/Garner Certified Food Site, you are ahead of your many competitors in showing food and beverage clients that your site meets the rigorous criteria that many companies are reviewing in their siting process.”

The analysis consists of examination of the industry’s workforce requirements as well as site analysis. At the end of the process, Opelika will receive a report with the companies’ food site certification label or a plan outlining measures that need to be taken to achieve the certification.

“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with Primus and Garner Economics. We feel obtaining this certification will let the food and beverage manufacturers know that Opelika, Ala., has a site and a workforce ready for their business,” Economic Development Director Lori Huguley said in a news release. Huguley and Mayor Gary Fuller are currently in South Korea.

The Northeast Opelika Industrial Park presently houses automotive suppliers Daewon America, Hanwha L&C, Benteler Automotive and Mando America Corp., as well as distribution centers for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Jo-Ann. Pharmavite, a manufacturer of vitamins, minerals and other supplements, plans to open a plant in the park in early 2013.

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