September 13-- The Toombs Corporate Center at U.S. Highway One north of Lyons is growing.
The Toombs County Development Authority and Chicken of the Sea is negotiating a five-year, $1.5 million lease-purchase agreement for the company to expand into a 100,000 square foot building in the Center.
The three-year-old building is located just north of the Chicken of the Sea main plant and will be used by the company's pet food subsidiary, U.S. Pet.
Toombs County Development Authority Executive Director Bill Mitchell says the agreement precludes U.S. Pet from moving about 80 jobs to a location in Missouri and will result in even more jobs here.
"It will mean an additional 50 jobs here pretty quickly," Mitchell says and he believes there may be more job growth in the future. "With what we've heard from the sales team, the production requirement is anything they can make with quality here in the States rather than offshore somewhere," he adds.
According to Mitchell, the company wants to start building out the interior of the building right away.
"There's probably around a $5 million investment for warehousing, storage, processing and labelling and that type stuff. They're going to expand their office presence in that building and eventually put one hundred percent of the dry dogfood and catfood production in that building. It will be air conditioned, there will be a number of shipping docks and require some work by local contractors to get it prepared for use and they're ready to go now," he said.
At the same time, Mitchell reports the company is obtaining additional acreage in the Center for future expansion and the Development Authority is planning additonal road paving there to provide better access to Highway 130 on the north side of the site.