GNP frozen chicken patties
Gold'n Plump and Just Bare chicken products are key to GNP's expansion success.

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – The first phase of GNP Company's expansion plan is underway at the company's Cold Spring and St. Cloud operations, the company announced. The first phase is expected to cost approximately $35 million.

The expansion plan includes a building addition and installation of new equipment, which will increase processing capacity at the Cold Spring plant's first-processing area as well as build-up of the company’s hatchery, the company said.

“This expansion will increase GNP Company’s ability to satisfy the expected increase in customer and consumer demand for our products and brands, while advancing our safety processes by reducing physical job demands and improving ergonomics,” said Steve Jurek, president.

The Cold Spring processing plant produces Just BARE and Gold’n Plump chicken products while supporting new product innovation. The company said both of these are critical to the company’s ability to effectively compete in the marketplace and meet current and future customer expectations. GNP said its sales grew to about $452 million in 2014 — an increase of 13 percent compared to 2013.

The second phase of the plan may include a building addition and new technology and equipment to further automate processes. The second phase of the project is still in development. GNP noted that annual plant production capacity at St. Cloud will increase by an estimated 33 percent, or the equivalent of about 88 million more processed pounds of chicken.

Projects that have been finished include:

• eight new docks added to the plant's distribution center and outbound load staging area;
• a new entrance to reduce truck and automobile congestion and increase safety and security;
• addition of a drop-trailer parking area to consolidate parking; and
• an expanded truck shop for St. Cloud Live Operations;

Work has started on an additional 28°F cooler-storage space at the Cold Spring processing plant. Also, GNP purchased a building in Sauk Rapids, Minn. for future hatchery expansion to support increased production.

Also in the works are plans to add of up to 72 new barns in the St. Cloud area, which will provide additional birds needed to satisfy potential production growth.

In addition to the plant expansion, the company revamped its organizational structure of the executive leadership team:

  • Tim Wensman, a 34-year veteran of the company was named executive vice president of Processing and Supply. Wensman previously served as executive vice president of Customer Processes.
  • Brian Roelofs was appointed vice president of Sales, Marketing and Service. He served as director of sales for nine years.
  • GNP’s vice president of Live Operations is and Engineering is Bill Lanners, a 30-year veteran who previously served as Director of Live Operations;
  • Finally, Peggy Brown will oversee human resources duties as senior director of Human Resources. Brown is a 22-year veteran of GNP who previously served as Director of Human Resources.

Positions that currently are open include senior director of Technical Services and CFO.