Small Oregon processor makes big investments in the future

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PENDLETON, Ore. – Hill Meat Co. operators announced earlier this week a multi-million-dollar expansion to makeover the family owned company’s 60-year-old plant. According to a story in the Hermiston Herald, CEO Jim Cheney plans to add 20,000 square feet to the pork-centric processing plant and update the lighting, refrigeration and layout of the facility. Cheney’s daughter, Nicole Sorensen serves as the president of the company, where about 80 people work and she says the growth has the company bursting at the seams.

Her father bought the business in 2001 and he admits it was on the edge of financial ruin after being in operation since 1947. The company has evolved with the times and has shifted away from walk-in sales and working with distributors to get products in foodservice outlets and more recently into the meat cases of retail customers, which include Albertson’s , Red Apple and Roth’s Fresh Markets.

The pending renovation isn’t the first reinvestment Cheney has made in the business, according to the report. Several years ago the firm spent about $10 million to grow its retail business and ensure quality and consistency.
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