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Major Roswell employer plans warehouse expansion

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The Leprino Food Co. plant in Roswell is planning a $15 million expansion that will involve some funding from the state. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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(Editor’s Note: The following article has been updated to clarify information about the new jobs involved in the expansion project.)

Roswell’s largest private-sector employer, part of a multibillion-dollar global enterprise, plans a warehouse expansion and intends to receive some funding from the state to assist in the effort.

Leprino’s Roswell plant, seen in a September 2016 photo, employs more than 500 people. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Leprino Foods Co. will construct a refrigerated and freezer warehouse at its 430,000-square-foot plant on Omaha Road in the southeast part of the city. The project is estimated to cost $15 million.

Construction began in March and is expected to be completed in October 2018, said Leprino spokeswoman Kim DeVigil.

Robert Tuttrup, the general manger for the Roswell facility and a Leprino vice president, said in a statement that the Roswell location has proven to be a good site.

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“Roswell has been an ideal location for our production for the past three decades, providing both a thriving community for our employees to live and work and close proximity to the dedicated farmers who supply the high-quality milk that is the chief ingredient in our products,” he said.

The New Mexico Economic Development Department announced Tuesday that it intends to provide a $200,000 grant for the project.

The statement also indicated that five additional jobs and the retention of at least 552 local employees were part of the deal. The new jobs are expected to be a mix of hourly and salaried staff to be hired from the region.

The LEDA grant would require the approval of Chaves County officials, as the county would serve as the fiscal agent for the state monies. A call to County Manager Stanton Riggs was not returned by press time.

Leprino Foods’ local facility is one of nine U.S. plants operated by the 67-year company, which also has a corporate office in Denver and has overseas ventures in Singapore, China, Japan, South Korea, Brazil and the United Kingdom. It is the nation’s largest producer of mozzarella cheese, which is sold to brand-name food producers and restaurant chains. The company also makes dairy by-products such as lactose and whey proteins.

Forbes magazine ranked Leprino as the 152nd largest private company in the United States in 2017, with $3 billion a year in sales and 4,000 employees.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.