Bob Evans expanding Xenia plant

By Scott Halasz shalasz@civitasmedia.com

April 11, 2014

XENIA — More jobs, more tax money and more pork sausage producation will be coming to Greene County courtesy of Bob Evans Farms.

BEF Foods, Inc., announced plans to expand its Xenia Township production facility to county commissioners with the promise of 22 new jobs, $800,000 in new payroll and an increase of approximately $2.2 million in property value after the $6.15 million project is finished.

BEF chose to expand the local facility over a plant in Michigan and will receive a 50 percent tax abatement for 10 years beginning in 2015. Greene County collect approximtaely $36,240 in additional property tax money during the abatement period, then the amount will double.

“Anything we can do to partner with local businesses, we’re there,” said Commissioner Tom Koogler.

BEF Foods, Inc., which is headquartered in suburban Columbus, had operated five plants in Ohio, Michigan, Illiniois and Texas but is down to just the Brush Row Road site in the township and Hillsdale, MI.

“We need to do the expansion,” said BEF president Mike Townsley. “We were looking at both. We had from a structural perspective … it made a lot more sense here. There was more opportunity to expand here.”

The parent company, which operates restaurants all over the United States and sells prepared food in grocery stores, has strong ties to Ohio which made choosing the township site an easy decision.

“I will call this our flagship sausage facility,” Townsley said. “This was our first facility. We’ve got a lot of heritage here. Our roots are based here in Ohio.”

Xenia Township previously approved the abatement and because the amount is under 75 percent, interested school districts were not required to take action but Xenia Community Schools were on board with the tax break.

“They were very supportive,” said Peter Williams, department of development spokesperson.

According to the Ohio Enterprise Zone Agreement, which is the official document containing the abatement, the project will begin June 1 and all acquisition, construction and installation will be completed by Dec. 31. All new jobs will be in place by Sept. 1, 2015.