OXFORD — State and local officials announced Monday that a Florida-based frozen-foods company is going to open a “state-of-the-art packing and cold storage facility” just outside Oxford.
The new arrival, Meel Corp., has pledged to invest $5.7 million in the project and create 24 new jobs, bringing with it a local payroll of nearly $1.2 million a year, the N.C. Department of Commerce and Gov. Roy Cooper’s office said.
The state is giving Meel a $50,000 OneNC grant that the company can use to buy or install equipment or utilities, or on fixing up its building. State policy requires Granville County to match that with another $25,000, a pledge the County Commissioners have to approve in a future meeting.
County spokesman Terry Hobgood said the company is taking space in the industrial area southwest of Oxford off West Industry Drive, an area that’s already home to such businesses as Bridgestone Bandag, Plastic Ingenuity and CertainTeed.
The company “is eligible for other incentives, but the state hasn’t made any announcements about those yet,” Hobgood said, adding that Meel Corp. will use Oxford’s utilities.
Granville County’s economic development director, Harry Mills, said his office “worked extremely hard to recruit” Meel and that Oxford’s government “was very instrumental in this process as well.”
“Meel will add value to our already diverse industry,” Mills said. “We are always proud to say ‘Come grow with Granville.’ ”
Based in Miami, Meel is a privately owned, family business that according to its website has been around for more than 27 years. It specializes in sourcing, developing, processing and packing organic and conventional fruits and vegetables, Department of Commerce officials said.
It buys from growers in the Americas, Europe and Asia, packaging and selling its offerings under its own Tropicland, Harvest Collections and Farmer’s Value brands, and for other labels.
The company says it’s also been “the supplier of choice” to the cruise-ship industry thanks to a location near the port of Miami.
The Department of Commerce announcement included a statement from Meel’s president, Michael Iaslovits, that indicated the company in searching for an expansion spot is trying to address the supply chain problems and labor shortages triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
North Carolina is an “ideal geographical location for us” that puts the company’s operations closer to “national customers and their delivery points,” Iaslovits said.
Monday’s announcement is the second incentive deal of late in this area for companies that are looking to capitalize on the demand for frozen foods.
Henderson and Vance County officials combined this month to offer MR Williams Inc. a combined $228,277 to secure an expansion of the warehouser’s cold-storage facility.
Contact Ray Gronberg at email@example.com or by phone at 252-436-2850.