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Welch Foods Expands Lawton, Michigan, Production Center

Welch Foods is expanding its operations in the village of Lawton, Michigan. The $26.2 million project is expected to create up to 57 jobs.

The company is experiencing increasing demand for single-serve beverages, and after reviewing potential sites in different states, has made the decision to locate its new bottling line at its Lawton facility. The project will revitalize underutilized property into food-grade production space that will allow for future growth, according to the Governor’s office.

“Welch’s is pleased that our close partnership with UFCW Local 825 has enabled us to commit to this investment, which will support our growth, continue to bring living-wage jobs to the community, and help us make Welch’s an employer of choice in Van Buren County,” said Welch Foods Inc., A Cooperative Chief Supply Chain Officer Merrell Bennett. “The State of Michigan is a great place to grow, and we are grateful for the efforts of state and local officials that are helping us make this project a reality.”

The investment is being supported by $588,725 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds awarded to Van Buren County. At least 30 of the 57 new jobs will be held by low-to moderate-income individuals in order to meet national CDBG objectives. The CDBG funds will also assist with the acquisition of machinery and equipment needed for the expansion

“Congratulations to the entire Welch’s team on your tremendous growth and success in Southwest Michigan. We appreciate your continued vote of confidence in our state and in our agricultural and manufacturing workforce,” said?Quentin Messer, Jr.,?CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and President and Chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund. “This project is an economic win for Van Buren County and for the entire state. We’re proud to join our local partners as we celebrate Welch’s expansion in Michigan and look forward to continuing to work together to grow and add jobs for Michigan residents.”

Welch Foods Inc. has produced grape juices, jams, and jellies since 1869 and has had operations in Michigan since 1919.

“We’re thankful for our partners at the village of Lawton, Van Buren County and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation who made securing this grant for Welch Foods Cooperative possible,” said Market Van Buren Executive Director Zach Morris. “Welch's decision to invest in Southwest Michigan is a testament to our region’s competitive advantages and local leadership’s collaborative spirit.”

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