Welcome Almark To Yuma

Land Sale For Food Processing Facility OK’d By Yuma City Council

By Matt Harding, Yuma Sun staff writer 
Dec 21, 2016

Hard-boiled eggs headlined the Yuma City Council’s Wednesday night meeting.

That is, council approved the sale of a property to ST Partners, LLC, the developer of an egg processing facility that could commence construction by spring 2017 and be in production as soon as spring 2018.

The operating company, Almark Foods, has facilities in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, and chose Yuma as its site to expand in the western U.S.

Almark is based in Gainesville, Georgia. The facility there processes roughly 1.5 million eggs each day.

Properties in and around Phoenix, Las Vegas and southwestern Utah were also considered, according to Scott Cooperman, the Chicago-based site selection consultant working on behalf of ST Partners who made a presentation during the council meeting.

He said about a half-dozen other places were looked at seriously.

Yuma was chosen, Cooperman said, because agriculture-based businesses are already here.

“We liked the fact that there’s agricultural-based food processing and packaging businesses who are already here,” he said. “Companies want to go where there’s other companies doing something similar.”

Almark has had large and continual growth, Cooperman said, noting that it went from $20 million in annual sales in 2010 to $100 million last year. Additionally, they’ve gone from 100 employees in 2009 to 400 now, and will be adding another 100 at the Yuma facility.

Kroger, Eggland’s Best, Costco, Safeway and Publix are among their retail partners.

While the operation’s hard-boiled egg cooking, chilling and peeling processes are automated, its packaging, sorting, inspection and shipping processes would require those 100 employees once the Yuma plant opens.

ST Partners will construct a 120,000 square foot plant on the site at a capital investment cost of $27.5 million — for land purchase, construction of the building and installation of equipment.

Cooperman told the council that local workers will be hired for not only the completed project, but for the site’s construction as well.

And while he didn’t give specifics, Cooperman told council that wage for the full-time, non-seasonal jobs that the plant will provide will be high enough to “get people who see us as an employer of choice.”

“We want to keep people,” he said. “Turnover is not good for this type of business.

“We’ll pay competitive wages (and) benefits, and this company actually offers an ESOP employee ownership share program as well.”