Good Humor-Breyers expanding; ethanol plant coming

Thursday, April 20, 2006
Work is underway on a $17 million expansion at Good Humor-Breyers in Sikeston. (Photo by Ed Dust)

SIKESTON -- A $17 million expansion is under way at the Good Humor-Breyers plant, which makes ice cream novelties and is one of the top 10 employers in the region with 850 workers. About 70 jobs will be created. The company is adding four production lines and more mix-making capability, according to plant manager Kelly Harms.

The expansion is taking place at the plant's north location in the Sikeston Business, Education and Technology Park. Harms said the expansion will bring the number of production lines to 14 at the north location, and the addition of a second mix system for the plant "positions us for future growth."

Good Humor-Breyers began operations in Sikeston in 1979 and added a $34 million north location in 1998.

Harms said an existing building will be enlarged, and the expansion involves a lot of internal construction. The upgrades should give the plant room to grow for the next four to six years, said Harms.

Also, the plant will move to a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week production schedule when the expansion is completed later this year.

Ed Dust, director of the Sikeston Department of Economic Development, said Good Humor-Breyers is owned by Unilever Corp., which committed the $17 million. Dust said the city will use a state grant of $504,000 to increase the capacity of the city's wastewater treatment facility to handle increased usage when the plant's additional production lines go into operation.

A $205 million ethanol plant will be built on about 160 acres at the Sikeston Business, Education and Technology Park. On March 31 city officials announced Bootheel Agri-Energy LCC will build a coal-fired, 100-million-gallon per year plant that is projected to use 35.6 million bushels of corn annually.

Bootheel Agri-Energy president David Herbst said the plant will employ 55 to 60 workers.

"This plant will run 24/seven," said Herbst. "And typically these jobs are fairly well paying."

Dust said the plant will be built north of Atlas Cold Storage and CTS Trailers and on the west side of the Burlington/Northern Railroad tracks.

"This facility will be very beneficial to farmers within a 100-mile radius," said Dust, adding that existing ethanol plants in Missouri have 50-million-gallon capacity. Dust said construction is slated to begin in November and the projected completion date is late next year.

The former C&F Foods building at 515 Noles St. was recently purchased by Bloomfield residents Ivan and Sue Griffin of Pine Tree Trucking and Warehouse.

"They saw an opportunity to grow their company in a growing community," said Dust, adding that the building covers 100,000 square feet and has railroad access. Dust said the Griffins have already leased half the building to Good Humor-Breyers. The remaining 50,000 square feet has two rail-access bays, four truck docks and a drive-in bay.

Confluent Technology Group is expanding from a 15,000-square-foot facility into a newly purchased 100,000-square-foot property at 85 Confluent Drive, directly behind its current location. The building was formerly owned by Larry DeWitt and had been vacant for several years.

Mark Anderson, president of Confluent Technology Group, said the 5-year-old business is a service provider to the cable television market. He said Confluent repairs and services hardware for local operators such as Galaxy Cablevision and SEMO Communications, as well as large operators such as Comcast, Charter Communications and Time-Warner.

Dust said that when he was hired as the city's economic director about two years ago, the city had almost a million square feet available to fill with businesses. Over the past six months, about half of that has been rented or otherwise spoken for, he said.

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