Flowers Expanding Capacity to Meet Future Demands

Proof that its strategic growth plans are on target or exceeding them, Flowers Foods purchased a former tortilla plant in Newton, N.C., and is turning it into a bread and bun bakery to better serve the Piedmont and mid-Atlantic markets. Moreover, the Thomasville, Ga.-based company is expanding production capacity at some of its other facilities, including its Villa Rica, Ga., operation, which will be gaining 70,000 sq. ft.
Specifically, Flowers recently bought a 115,000-sq.-ft. tortilla operation from CHS Inc., the Minneapolis-based diversified energy and food company that exited the tortilla market earlier this year.
Renovations are expected to start in November, and the bakery will open with one production line in mid-2006. A second production line will be added later. In all, the company expects to invest about $40 million in the Newton bakery over the next three years. The new bakery will allow Flowers to meet the growing demand for its baked foods in existing markets, as well as in new territories as it continues its long-term expansion of its core markets.
“Newton is strategically located in our market territory to help relieve production pressure,” said George Deese, Flowers Foods’ president and CEO. “Another benefit is that the facility we acquired is well suited to house a bakery with long, highly efficient production lines.”
Flowers began the Villa Rica expansion project in September and plans to install a new high-speed bread line by next spring. The bread line will produce upward of 160 loaves of Nature’s Own and Cobblestone Mill breads. The project also will create 65 jobs.
Flowers also plans to open the McDonough, Ga., bakery that it acquired in 2004. During the past year, it added capacity to plants in Denton, Texas; Crossville, Tenn.; and Miami.
In November, the company noted that it expects fiscal 2005 sales of $1.71 to $1.715 billion. In addition to expanding geographically, Flowers is taking advantage of the changes in the industry’s competitive landscape. Deese said.