NORTH KINGSTOWN—On Tuesday evening, the Quonset Development Corporation’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a lease agreement for Greencore USA, a global convenience food manufacturer and distributor, to build a new, 107,000 sq. ft. facility. According to Liam McClennon, CEO at Greencore USA, over 400 jobs will be created by the time the facility is fully operational next April.
“We are pleased to be coming to Quonset Business Park,” said McClennon. “We are a market leader in a number of convenience food areas, and are a big producer of almost exclusively private label foods, helping retailers and other businesses succeed by doing a fantastic job around manufacturing high quality, very safe fresh food items.”
“In searching for the right location, we wanted to find a place where we could build quickly, have easy access to the major cities on the East Coast, and be in a place where we could grow for the future,” he added. “Quonset met all those criteria perfectly.”
The new facility will be constructed on an approximately 15 acre parcel off Commerce Park Road, and rent will cost $1.10 per sq. foot of gross building footprint per year. As part of its incentive package, Greencore will receive rent reductions for signing a 50 year lease, as well as an employment discount (.5 percent of wages) for bringing upwards of 600 jobs into Quonset. In the first year of the lease, Greencore will pay approximately $117,000 in rent.
McClennon outlined Greencore’s business history and profile to the board on Tuesday, stating that the company employs approximately 11,0000 worldwide and generates $2 billion in yearly sales. Greencore already has seven facilities throughout the U.S., namely in Salt Lake City and Jacksonville. McClennon further highlighted Greencore’s approach to convenience food manufacturing, having been established in the U.S. since 2008.
“We try to be careful about how we do things,” said McClennon. “Short shelf-life convenience food can’t travel very far, so we have to be close to our markets. We are about high quality food safety.”
“Eventually, we will be coast to coast, but have to grow in small geographic footprints,” he added.
McClennon also detailed the site plan, stating the building will be ‘state-of-the-art.’
“We will put everything in this in terms of 21st century food safety and hygienic design,” he said. “In our high care manufacturing area, we want that area to be the last area of touch from a person. It needs to be very clean and safe, and we do an awful lot to make sure that what goes into here is clean and sanitized so the next time it is touched, is by the consumer eating it.”
Governor Lincoln Chafee and Congressman James Langevin welcomed Greencore into Quonset, as well as town council members Elizabeth Dolan and Richard Welch.
“I am excited about the jobs that [Greencore] will bring here,” said Langevin. “It is a great highlight.”
“We think [Greencore] will find North Kingstown a nice place to work and a place where your people who will want to come and live here,” said Dolan.
McClennon further stated that employees will be paid anywhere from $10 an hour to a six figure salary depending on the position, and hopes to bring its workers living in Rhode Island to the Quonset facility, as well as recruit new hires from local communities.
“We would like some of those people that work with us in Boston but live in Rhode Island to stay with us and work at the new site,” said McClennon. “It will give us a good nucleus of people who know how to do things as such when we bring in new employees, and we will have a core of people to manage the hygiene and food safety.”
“We have a broad range of skills and requirements for our sites, [and] it is a nice blend of opportunity for jobs,” he continued. “We need good, smart people to run the facility. It looks fairly easy making sandwiches, but it is a demanding operation seven days a week.”