McKee Foods recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Stuarts Draft manufacturing facility in Augusta County, Va.
McKee Foods is known for its Little Debbie® line of snack cakes. The family business has grown from a five-person bakery in the 1930’s to America’s No. 1 brand of snack cakes.
The Stuarts Draft plant is one of the most advanced facilities in the baking industry. The company established the bakery in 1990 to produce oatmeal crème pies, honey buns and other bakery products.
The company’s most recent announcement in October 2014 included a $34 million investment and 54 new jobs to expand the facility.
McKee Foods employs more than 1,000 people and is the largest manufacturing employer in Augusta County. The company frequently credits the high productivity of its Virginia workforce as paramount to its success.
"We have found our Virginia workforce to be some of the most loyal and highly-skilled employees in the industry — and about 85 members of our Virginia workforce have been at the plant since it opened," said McKee Foods President and CEO Mike McKee.
In addition to a strong manufacturing workforce, Virginia provides McKee Foods with a strategic location, offering easy access to the company’s Northeastern and Canadian customers. Located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, the Stuarts Draft location offers McKee employees a high quality of life with close proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail and numerous national parks.
To learn why more than 580 leading food and beverage companies, like McKee Foods, have chosen to locate in Virginia, click here.
Representatives from McKee Foods, Augusta County and VEDP celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary in Stuarts Draft, Va.
September — The Hiperbaric machine was delivered and the team configured production, warehousing and office space.
October — On October 11, Lumi produced the first HPP juice off the production line. VDACS came out to inspect the facility, and according to Hillary, “On October 25 we got the okay to sell and it was game on!”
November — The company has been selling its fresh vegetable and fruit juices for almost four weeks. Lumi has already branched out from Charlottesville to retailers such as Whole Foods Market and Relay Foods in Richmond, D.C., and Rockville, Md. From weeks three to four the company has more than doubled sales.
According to Hillary, “One reason I went to business school was to start my own company. I believe in the viability of manufacturing in the U.S. and in creating jobs and industry at home. I feel really fortunate there have been so many wonderful people that have been a part of this. We wouldn’t be here today without the support of partners at the university, state and county level. I feel extremely thankful and regardless of the obstacles, every day is more wonderful than the one before.”
Use the highlighted links to learn more about Lumi Juice and why Virginia is a great place to start a business.
Hillary Lewis, co-founder of Lumi Juice, expands sales through a product display in Richmond’s Ellwood Thompson’s Natural Foods Market.