December 16, 2021 - Originally posted by PulseofConway.com
Westrock Coffee Company announced plans Dec. 16 to expand its operations to Conway in the largest capital investment project in the city’s history.
Westrock purchased the former Kimberly Clark plant in the Conway Industrial Park and plans to invest more than $100 million in the 524,000 square-foot facility creating 250 jobs.
“I don’t think we could have been more fortunate to find a match for this facility,” Brad Lacy, president and CEO of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and Conway Development Corporation, said. “Not only are we filling a specialized facility, we’re doing it with a company that is growing rapidly, holds a great reputation and is led by a family who knows how to grow a business. We’re fortunate to be a part of that story now.”
Westrock Coffee, headquartered in Little Rock, is the leading integrated coffee, tea and extract service provider in the country with offices in ten countries and operations around the world. Westrock sources its coffee and tea from 35 countries and partners with its local farmers to provide sustainable agriculture education and better growing practices.
“Their entire story is exciting,” Lacy said. “The mission as it relates to farmers in an array of countries, being a part of this greater mission that is bringing prosperity to people across the globe is impressive. It’s business with a mission and it’s a mission that is honorable and good.”
Lacy said the addition of Westrock Coffee puts Conway in the middle of a growing industry sector that has never been part of Conway’s business profile.
“Westrock Coffee and Conway will be an exceptional partnership. I am delighted to welcome them to our community,” Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry said. “The city is fortunate to have Westrock Coffee bring its global presence, outlook, and commitment to investing in the lives of their partners throughout the world. I look forward to Westrock continuing their success in Conway and abroad for years to come.”
The Conway facility will be used to develop, produce and distribute Westrock’s coffee, tea and ready-to-drink products, and provide space for a product development lab to create, test and produce new beverages. The space will be designed to manufacture and package canned and bottled cold brew coffees, lattes, assorted teas and juice-based products.
Westrock also announced new developments in North Carolina and Malaysia.
“We are expanding our finished product offerings, adding end beverage packaging solutions, and expanding our geographic reach to meet our growing customer demand,” Scott Ford, CEO and co-founder of Westrock Coffee, said in a news release. “Our growth benefits everyone at Westrock Coffee — from our global customers and farmer partners to our current and future employees and the communities where they live.”
Fifty jobs will be created in Conway following phase one of the site build out — expected to be completed by early 2023 — with a total of 250 jobs over time.
The full build out is estimated to take the company 2-5 years to complete.
“This is an extremely quick repurposing of a facility,” Lacy said. “Especially one this large and specialized.”
The jobs created will be advanced and highly skilled positions with some salaries reaching more than $100,000.
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