Production is slated to begin this month with the opening of a new manufacturing facility in Hazelwood, as a private label subsidiary of Post Holdings moves processing of its fruit and nut snacks from Canada.
The influx of nearly 350 jobs with 8th Avenue Food & Provisions is helping stem a decades-long drain of manufacturing positions in the region. It also helps achieve the civic leaders’ goal of increasing the total number of manufacturing jobs in the bi-state region as part of a larger economic development plan.
“St. Louis is [in] the center of the country, âsaid Charles Sargent, an East St. Louis native who was hired to manage operations at the Hazelwood plant. “So [it offers] transportation advantages and distribution advantages. It makes it more attractive to reach our customers and serve our customers in real time and the great workforce that is here, that I know [about] first hand. These are the kinds of factors that prompted the decision to move here. “
To help cement the deal, the company is expected to receive $ 2.4 million in tax incentives, Sargent said, including a 10-year personal property tax rebate and state career training funds. from Missouri.
Starting with around 50 workers on the first line of the plant as of Jan. 24, the operation is expected to reach 346 workers by the spring.
The 250,000 square foot plant, which replaces a smaller one in Burnaby, B.C., will prepare and package snack foods, trail mixes and dried fruits for retail, foodservice and customers who use them as ingredients.
Management seeks to fill a variety of supervisory and entry-level three-shift positions including quality, operations, production, warehouse, forklift operator, sanitation and maintenance. .
âThe majority of them, if not all,â would be considered living wage jobs, Sargent said, noting that the starting wage for the hourly workforce is $ 16.50.
He said most production jobs require at least a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and none of the positions require a master’s degree or higher.
The Hazelwood site is one of 10 manufacturing plants that 8th Avenue operates in North America, including two in Canada. The company, which reported 2020 sales of at least $ 1 billion, has around 2,000 employees worldwide.
8th Avenue Food & Provisions was established in October 2018 through a combination of the private label activities of Post Holdings. It is owned by Post Holdings and funds affiliated with private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners.
It makes custom private label products including pasta, peanut butter, snack nuts, trail mixes, granola and more. Earlier this year, 8th Avenue purchased Ronzoni, the nation’s second largest dry pasta retail brand, making 8th Avenue one of the largest suppliers of pasta in the United States.
The company moved its headquarters from Minneapolis to Fenton in June 2020 with approximately 120 employees.
The 8th Avenue announcement comes as the St. Louis area redoubles its efforts to increase the number of manufacturing jobs available locally.
From 2001 to 2020, Saint-Louis lost 51,000 manufacturing jobs, or 31% of manufacturing jobs that existed in the metro in 2001, according to the STL 2030 Jobs Plan report released last year by Greater St. Louis Inc.
In a statement, Greater St. Louis, Inc. General Manager Jason Hall called the move to 8th Avenue “a big, big win for the St. Louis area and a big catalyst for North St. Louis County. “.
The 100-plus-page jobs report describes advanced manufacturing and production as one of five “strong clusters” in the two-state metro area that have the potential to “drive growth going forward.” .
The cluster employs more than 57,000 workers regionally in fields such as advanced software engineering, manufacturing, consumer products and food production.
The report notes that the segment “appears poised to grow in a post-COVID world, as the United States seeks to relocate some manufacturing components,” in part to deal with supply chain grunts that have boosted inflation.
The report proposes the development of advanced manufacturing innovation
Center in the region to âdrive innovation and support manufacturers in the areaâ.
For a complete list of positions, visit the Careers page of 8ave.com or send “CAREERS” by SMS to +1 (314) 597-8151. Note: The phone number does not accept voice calls.
Karen Robinson-Jacobs is Business Journalist for The St. Louis American / Type Investigations and 2021-2022 Report Member for America.