On January 19, Schwan’s Company announced plans to build a state-of-the-art 140,000-square-foot refrigerated distribution center at its pizza-manufacturing facility in Salina, Kansas. This is a new project in addition to the 400,000-square-foot expansion currently underway.

Company leaders on Thursday joined government and civic officials in Salina—including Gov. Laura Kelly and Sen. Jerry Moran—to share details of the new project and thank the Salina and greater Kansas community.

As a part of the new distribution center project, Schwan’s announced intentions to more than double the size of the distribution center that was built in Salina in 2006. The project, which is expected to begin in 2023 and be completed in early 2025, will expand the total distribution center space to 245,000 square feet. The company’s overall manufacturing-facility and distribution-center space combined in Salina will exceed 1 million square feet upon completion.

The new distribution center space will be used to store food produced by employees at the company’s pizza plant. The state-of-the-art facility will include a 38,000-pallet-position racking system with three automated pallet cranes.

The additional distribution center space will support a much larger project announced by the company more than two years ago. In 2020, the company announced plans to expand its pizza plant in Salina with 400,000 square feet of new manufacturing space. The overall project is expected to add up to 225 jobs to the community. The project announced in 2020, which includes state-of-the-art pizza-production lines, shipping and receiving docks, and office space, is now nearing completion. The company expects to be making pizzas at the new facility in December.

“In 2020, we had the honor of announcing to the Salina community a major investment that would enable us to continue to provide delicious pizzas to millions of families for decades to come. I feel a lot of pride and I am also very much humbled by everyone’s execution on this project. We are set to begin making pizzas at our new facility in December, and this new distribution center will support our expanded production capabilities over the long term,” said Schwan’s Company CEO Dimitrios Smyrnios. “On behalf of everyone at Schwan’s and our parent company, CJ, I once again want to thank the Salina community and federal, state and local officials in Kansas for helping us make this expansion a success. We especially want to thank our employees at the facility for continuing to make the highest-quality foods.”

Investing for growth

Schwan’s Company is investing in the Salina facility to support its growth initiatives in the retail and foodservice markets in the U.S. and abroad. Founded in 1952, Schwan’s Company is a subsidiary of South Korean food maker, CJ CheilJedang. Schwan’s Company focuses on making pizzas, desserts, and Asian-style foods in foodservice venues, grocery stores, and other retail outlets throughout North America.

Schwan’s first began operating a pizza plant in Salina in April 1970, when it acquired the Tony’s pizza brand and plant from a Salina businessman. Employees at the facility continue to produce Tony’s and Red Baron pizza for grocery stores nationwide, as well as pizzas for foodservice venues such as schools.

During Schwan’s ownership of the plant, the facility has grown from just 18,000 square feet to nearly 1-million square feet. The facility has seen more than 80 additions over the past five decades. Burns & McDonnell, a 100 percent employee-owned engineering and construction company, is leading the architecture, engineering and construction of the facility.

Working with Kansas public officials

To help facilitate the project, Schwan’s Company has worked with various federal, state, and local public agencies and officials in Kansas, including the offices of Gov. Laura Kelly and U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, the Kansas departments of Commerce and Transportation, the Salina Community Economic Development Organization, the city of Salina, the Salina Airport Authority, Saline County and Salina Area Chamber of Commerce on economic development and incentive opportunities.