Business Briefs

Union City, Ind.-based Workhorse Custom Chassis marked a major milestone in June as it celebrated the 100,000th chassis to come off its production line since it began manufacturing operations in 1999. Bimbo Bakeries USA joined in celebrating the event, which included the presentation of Workhorse’s 99,999th chassis to Bimbo officials by Jay Sandler, vice president of sales, commercial product, for Workhorse. Winnebago Industries, a Workhorse RV-chassis customer, was presented the 100,000th chassis.
Valparaiso, Ind.-based Urschel Laboratories, Inc., the world leader in the manufacturing and selling of food-cutting equipment, is expanding its Product Test Cutting Facility. The construction of an additional 5,000 sq. ft. will accommodate customer demand for free, no-obligation test-cutting of customers’ products on Urschel equipment. The new space also will facilitate ongoing research and development as well as offer increased storage. The expansion will more than double the current area of the existing test-cutting facility. Increased parking is also planned. The completion date is set for early fall.
Avalanche Holdings Ltd., a United Kingdom-based corporation, acquired Spooner Vicars Ltd. and Spooner Vicars Inc. Avalanche also purchased the entire share capital from current owner CIR (a multinational corporation in Milan, Italy). Avalanche Holdings is owned by Bruce Stimpson and Wayne Poteet, and will activate a long term investment program to maximize Spooner Vicars’ positive position in the global marketplace, focusing on product development, increased quality and improved service. Stimpson will take on the role of managing director and Poteet will become senior director.
CM Packaging, a premier manufacturer of aluminum foil containers, ClearLock plastic packaging and board covers, recently acquired Packaging Direct, Inc., (PDI), based in Gladwin, Mich.  Founded in 1996, PDI has an extensive line of 200 different packaging items focusing primarily on PET containers for the fruit and vegetable markets. CM Packaging is a subsidiary of Chicago Metallic Products, Inc., and has been growing at a sufficiently rapid rate. A 93,500-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art manufacturing facility will be built in October 2004.
Interstate Bakeries Corp. is closing two San Francisco, Calif-based plants and will cut 650 jobs, continuing plans aimed at saving the maker of Hostess Twinkies and Wonder Bread. The Kansas City, Mo.-based company also announced plans to close six of its 53 bakeries since filing for bankruptcy protection in September 2004.
Minneapolis-based Cargill has acquired Integrated Bakery Resources (IBR), a provider of pre-mix systems, finished foods and related marketing services to North American-based bakers and retailers. The acquisition includes Breadsong Baking Company, IBR’s wholly owned commercial baking and blending operation. Based in Lake Oswego, Ore., a suburb of Portland, IBR employs 78 people. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
On Jun. 25, 2005, Eli’s Cheesecake Co. kicked off a year-long 25th birthday celebration! The award-winning cheesecake was created by Eli Schulman, and made its public debut in 1980 at the first “Taste of Chicago,” one of the nation’s largest food festivals. The local favorite has grown into one of the country’s largest specialty bakeries, producing more than 18,000 rich, creamy, all-natural cheesecakes and other desserts daily at Eli’s Cheesecake World, a 62,000-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art bakery, retail store, café and visitors’ center located on Chicago’s northwest side. Eli’s was recently named the No. 1 food tour in the country by the Food Network’s “Top Five.”
BEMA launched a new Baking Industry Forum at its Annual Meeting, held in June at the Hyatt Regency Kauai Resort & Spa in Hawaii. This new initiative marks the first time bakers and suppliers met formally and regularly to bring forth, discuss and resolve a variety of issues critical to their mutual business interests.
North Kingstown, Rhode Island-based Toray Plastics (America), Inc., was named the 2004 “Supplier of the Year” by Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo. Toray works closely with Frito-Lay to develop innovative snack and convenient food packaging that provides business growth. Customized barrier packaging films include clear, opaque, and metalized OPP.
St. Paul, Minn.-based CHS Inc. has completed the sale of its tortilla and chip operations to Gruma Corp. The sale consisted of three plants, with a total of about 250 employees, located in New Brighton, Minn., Fort Worth, Texas, and Phoenix. Gruma Corp., a subsidiary of Gruma S.A. de C.V. based in Monterrey, Mexico, markets its finished products under the Mission and Guerrero names.
AZO, Incorporated and Bachelor Controls, Inc. (BCI) announced the opening of a BCI office at the AZO facility in Memphis, Tenn. The new alliance will include the transfer of AZO control personnel into BCI’s new Memphis operation. The BCI Memphis office will operate as an additional branch of Bachelor Controls, Inc.  BCI has existing offices in Sabetha, Kan. and Lenexa, Kan., in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The new cooperation also will strengthen AZO and BCI’s decade-long strategic partnership that provides state-of-the-art ingredient automation, equipment and information technology.
Berkeley, Calif.-based PowerBar announced that PowerBar Pria, its line of women’s nutrition bars and beverages, has partnered with the National Philanthropic Trust as a National Series Sponsor for the 2005 Breast Cancer 3-Day Series, benefiting the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund. The agreement names PowerBar Pria as the exclusive program sponsor in the nutrition, energy and snack bar category for the 2005 series of multi-day, 60-mile, breast cancer education and fundraising walks. In an effort to help further the cause of breast cancer awareness, PowerBar Pria will collaborate with the National Philanthropic Trust on a national breast cancer consumer-education and fundraising campaign and regional event-based marketing programs.
Schaumburg, Ill.-based Chef Solutions, a national manufacturer and supplier of refrigerated prepared foods and frozen bakery products to the foodservice and retail industries, announced the launch of its new Web sites for divisionalized operating units, Orval Kent and Pennant Foods. In addition to creating unique sites specific to baking and prepared foods, the sites provide access to pertinent product information, including nutritionals, recipes and marketing support materials.    
Heat and Control, Inc., opened a new manufacturing facility in Nanjing, China. For nearly 20 years, Heat and Control has supplied processing and packaging machinery for potato chips, pellet snacks, french fries and other products to customers in China from its factory in Brisbane, Australia. The new facility will provide a local center for machinery, product tests, sales, service and training. With over 23,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space, the Nanjing facility includes nearly 16,000 sq. ft. of office space for engineering, sales and service personnel.  A 2,000-sq.-ft. Technical Center also has opened to provide product-development services and demonstrations of production-scale processing and packaging machinery. The new facility will be able to share engineering and technical data with other Heat and Control factories to provide the latest machinery designs and technology.  Future plans call for expanding the factory to 65,000 sq. ft.
Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Perfection Bakeries, Inc., celebrated the 15th anniversary of its Coldwater Bakery. The Coldwater, Mich.-based bakery is fully automatic and produces Aunt Millie’s brand hamburger and hot dog buns at an average of 800 pieces per minute. Perfection’s second bakery, known as Coldwater II, produces specialty items, including Aunt Millie’s brand cake muffins, English muffins and bagels.
The United States Senate has passed legislation to reauthorize federal highway programs, a version which mandates that all shippers must pay fuel surcharges to their contract carriers when the cost of fuel exceeds $1.10 per gallon. The provision also contains a complicated formula for calculating said costs. If the provision becomes law, fuel surcharges would give shipping companies and their independent operators the freedom to file class-action lawsuits against shippers failing to pay charges.