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OFD Foods, LLC recently announced plans to construct a $25 million freeze-drying facility in Henrietta, New York.

“Building a facility in this location will help us serve our Midwest and East Coast customers better, and it enables us to open capacity for growth at our existing facilities in Albany, Oregon,” Jim Merryman, president and CEO of the company, said in a news release.

The new 50,000-square-foot facility will focus on providing freeze-drying services for bulk industrial products, and will include manufacturing, warehouse and office spaces.

The groundbreaking is planned for April and the facility is expected to be completed by June 2018.

According to a Monday news release from New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the facility is expected to result in the creation of 30 full-time jobs.

In order to encourage OFD Foods to construct its $25 million manufacturing facility in New York, the state is providing up to $400,000 in grants, Cuomo’s news release added.

Reg Allen, president of the Henrietta Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview on Tuesday that Henrietta, a town of about 42,600 people, was an area for growth.

“The town supervisor and the town board encourage good businesses that are going to have a long life to come to town. It seems to have worked out well,” he said.

“We’re always happy to hear about new businesses coming to town. Whether they’re bringing five or 500 jobs, that’s a good thing,” Allen added.

He expected OFD Foods to have a ripple effect in the area, with workers shopping at stores and shops in the community.

John Damon, OFD Foods senior vice president of manufacturing, said that he was impressed with Henrietta’s pro-business mentality and the availability of skilled trade training and education opportunities, according to Cuomo’s news release.

Rochester Institute of Technology and Monroe Community College are nearby.

“Thanks to the support of Governor Cuomo, we are able to invest in this new facility and our employees for our collective future growth and success,” Damon added, in the news release.

OFD Foods, LLC is headquartered in Albany at 525 25th Ave. SW where it operates three facilities. It produces its own food brands — Mountain House and Easy Meal — for the adventure meal, emergency preparedness and disaster recovery markets.

The company is the largest diversified freeze dryer in North America and is also the leading supplier of freeze-dried food to the U.S. military.

OFD Foods has about 380 workers in Albany.

Last fall, OFD Foods received a capital investment from a Portland firm that led to the retirement buyouts of several long-serving managers. The change enabled the company to accelerate investments in additional capacity in Albany and elsewhere in North America.

At the time, Merryman talked about creating another facility in the United States due to increased demand in the outdoor adventure meal and emergency meal markets.

“We’ve been focusing on our sales and marketing efforts the last few years, and those are paying off now,” Merryman said, in November.

He added that he hoped to double the size of the company in the next five years.

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Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.

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