Abilene scores big economic development win: Cheese manufacturer bringing new plant, 500 jobs and $185 million investment

Great Lakes Cheese courtesy photo manufacturing plant rendering

In a big economic development win for Abilene, Great Lakes Cheese has announced it will establish a new Packaging and Distribution Facility in Abilene, creating 500 new jobs as part of a $185 million capital investment.

Gov. Greg Abbott made the announcement Friday, April 16, along with officials from Abilene, including the Development Corporation of Abilene, the area’s economic development arm.

A Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) grant of $3 million has been extended to Hiram, Ohio-based Great Lakes Cheese. The DCOA has extended an incentive package of $33.3 million to the company, which will build a 286,500-square-foot facility in the city. The direct economic impact of the project on Abilene over the next 10 years is an estimated $1.3 billion, according to a report on the city’s website. The opening of the plant is one of the largest economic development events in the city’s history, according to city officials.

“We are proud to welcome Great Lakes Cheese to the state of Texas, and we are excited for the impact that this company will have on Abilene’s economic success,” said Abbott. “Great Lakes Cheese joins the ranks of thousands of companies that have chosen to invest in the Lone Star State. Our model of low taxes, reasonable regulations, and incredible workforce continue to attract investments that keep Texas the best state for business.”

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“Creating 500 new job opportunities and introducing a large capital investment to the area, I am thrilled to welcome Great Lakes Company to House District 71,” said state Rep. Stan Lambert. “I am proud of the efforts of the DCOA led by Misty Mayo, the City of Abilene, and many others for this effort. Additionally, I’d like to thank Gov. Greg Abbott and his staff, as well as Speaker Dade Phelan, for the TEF Grant and their continued efforts in ensuring that Texas remains a business friendly state.”

“This is the biggest opportunity recruited to the city of Abilene in the last 30 years and is the perfect example of what strategic economic development should be,” said Mayor Anthony Williams of Abilene. “This successful partnership with Great Lakes Cheese will benefit Abilene and the state of Texas by generating opportunities for decades to come.”

Misty Mayo, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Development Corporation of Abilene, said: “I am so proud of our determined economic development team and all of those who are working hard to make this partnership with Great Lakes Cheese a reality. With a projected creation of over 500 high-paying jobs, these opportunities are critical for Abilene’s future and we look forward to officially welcoming Great Lakes Cheese to its newest home in Abilene, Texas.”

Great Lakes Cheese was founded in 1958 and serves retailers and food service operations as a manufacturer and packer of natural and process bulk, shredded and sliced cheeses. The family- and employee-owned company also has plants in New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin.

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