Naturally Potatoes Break Ground on New Building Addition…Increase Jobs and County Economic Development
All eyes are on a local potato company that’s DEEP ROOTED in success and is growing. Naturally Potatoes in Mars Hill is expanding their facilities and increasing production on their refrigerated potato line.
Shawn Cunningham reports on the impact this will have on economic development in Aroostook County.
Sealed with a shovel…(nat. sound of applause) And with that, a new 32 thousand square foot facility will be erected this fall…a welcome addition to the Naturally Potatoes plant in Mars Hill.
The company is growing, increasing production of their refrigerated potato products so more space is needed say company officials. Its good news for the company’s bottom line and great news for the impact it could have on county economic development. William Haggett is the CEO of Naturally Potatoes and says “Its great for the employees and potato growers of Northern Maine, I think its good for Maine’s economy we’re doubling the size and the capacity of this facility here in Mars Hill and we’re gonna be buying a lot more potatoes.” “If you look around here you’ll see a lot of young people that don’t have to go somewhere else to look for a job you see farmers growing more potatoes for us and expanding throughout we’re becoming a national player,” adds Rodney McCrum Naturally Potatoes’ Chief Operating Officer.
With the new facility comes more space for dry storage, double the refrigerated warehousing area, more potato packaging equipment, and a new employee cafeteria and parking lot. The company cites annual growth rates exceeding 15 percent.
In addition to what this expansion will mean for economic development in the county, Mccrum says in the shortterm it means the addition of about 20 new jobs.
Mccrum says “we’re buying potatoes from growers they’re buying chemicals from people they’re hiring people and we’re hiring trucks and we’re hiring people so the economic effect is with everybody.”
Because the new facility could create more jobs and spur economic development, the expansion qualified under Pine Tree Zone benefits. Economic Development officials say its a win win for Maine, the county and both economies.
Ward Mclaughlin is a Farmer for Westridge Farms and adds “means more contract volume to all the growers not just us its just great to see this business growing and helping the industry grow.”
“Jobs are jobs, what it means for the farmers is another opportunity to market their crops and when the farmers do well Mars Hill does well,” says David Cyr, Mars Hill’s Town Manager.
The new facility will be completed by late fall.