Bob Evans to close plants

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Bob Evans Farms, Inc. will close its food production plants in Springfield, Ohio, and Bidwell, Ohio, by late summer 2013, the company announced May 29.

The company estimates 110 employees will be impacted by the closures. Workers will maintain their positions until the plants close; and Bob Evans plans to place as many affected workers in other positions within the company by the time of the closures, the company said.

“These are difficult, but important, strategic decisions for Bob Evans — ones that will allow our company to continue to grow in Ohio and across the country,” said Steve Davis, chairman and chief executive officer of Bob Evans Farms, Inc. “We recognize there are vast opportunities that lie ahead for Bob Evans Farms – and we are committed to making significant investments in Ohio and our other markets to realize those opportunities.”

The company said it anticipates a total annual pre-tax benefit of approximately $7 million to $8 million in fiscal 2015. The company also will move forward with a plan to consolidate its transportation operations in Bidwell and Hillsdale, Mich., to a new transportation center in Springfield, Ohio. The new transportation center will be located near the distribution center at an estimated investment of $5 million with 110 jobs, the company said. Company said it anticipates that nearly all transportation workers from Bidwell and Hillsdale will transfer to the new Springfield transportation center.

Davis said the company’s will focus on higher-growth opportunities such as packaged side dishes and convenience foods. He said the recent decisions are meant to position the company for future growth in Ohio. As part of the food production consolidation, Bob Evans will invest approximately $23 million to $26 million to add lines to its food production facility in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Two new line extensions will increase production of ready-to-eat food products, the company said.

Additional investments include more than $50 million over several years for the remodel of its 190 Ohio restaurants; approximately $40 million (after proceeds from the sale of the current campus) in a new corporate campus being built in New Albany, Ohio; and $4 million recently invested in the company’s original farm and homestead in Rio Grande, Ohio.

Bob Evans currently employs approximately 45,000 people; nearly 14,000 of whom are in Ohio. The company has restaurant, food production, transportation and corporate office employees across the state. The company owns and operates full-service restaurants under the Bob Evans and Mimi’s Café brand names.

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