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Governor Lee, Commissioner Rolfe Announce McKee Foods to Expand Hamilton County Operations

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 | 01:00pm
  • Expansion will add new production lines in Collegedale
  • McKee Foods anticipates creating 480 new jobs over next 15 years
  • Snack food and granola maker employs more than 3,000 people in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe announced today that McKee Foods Corporation, the maker of Little Debbie Snacks, Drake’s Cakes and other snack foods, will undergo a major expansion in Collegedale.

Over a 15-year period, McKee Foods plans to invest more than $500 million in its Hamilton County production operations and create approximately 480 jobs. The expansion will accommodate new production lines.

As part of the first phase of the expansion, McKee Foods will invest $225 million over the next seven years and initially create 125 jobs. Following this first phase, McKee Foods anticipates further hiring and investment to meet its 15-year targets.

Headquartered in Collegedale for more than 70 years, McKee Foods employs more than 3,000 people at its Tennessee production facilities and corporate offices. The privately-held, family-owned company is the maker of Little Debbie Snacks, Sunbelt Bakery granola and cereal, Heartland Brands and Drake’s Cakes.

Since 2015, TNECD has supported 45 economic development projects in Hamilton County, totaling more than 6,500 job commitments and $1.8 billion in private capital investment.

QUOTES

“I’m grateful for McKee Foods’ ongoing commitment to Tennessee as it continues to create high-quality jobs and drive economic activity. Thousands of Tennesseans have contributed to the success of McKee Foods and its world-renowned products. I’m pleased to see such a storied Tennessee brand move forward with this considerable expansion in Collegedale.” – Governor Bill Lee

“Tennessee is home to some of the world’s most respected food brands, none greater than Little Debbie Snacks and McKee Foods. We’ve sought to create a business-friendly environment that ensures our existing Tennessee companies can prosper and thrive. McKee Foods has called Collegedale and Hamilton County home for generations, and this considerable investment promises to ensure its prominent role in Southeast Tennessee continues for generations to come.” – TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe

“McKee Foods is very pleased that we are able to bring more jobs and more bakery capacity to our Hamilton County operations. Our family business is blessed to have such deep roots in Southeast Tennessee — a region where thoughtful infrastructure investment is being made while maintaining a keen eye on livability and workability for our employees and surrounding communities.” – Mike McKee, McKee Foods Corporation President & CEO 

“I am extremely excited to learn about the initial announcement of 125 new jobs at McKee Foods, a number that will grow to 480 over the next 15 years. McKee is one of the great Hamilton County legacy companies, and we could not be happier that McKee chose its hometown to make this significant expansion and investment that will help grow Hamilton County.” – Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger

“McKee Foods is an important part of Collegedale. We are grateful that the company has chosen to continue its investment in our city with a significant expansion of its operations. We are excited for the new opportunities and the jobs that this growth will create.” –Collegedale Mayor Katie Lamb

“TVA and EPB congratulate McKee Foods on its decision to expand operations in Collegedale and create hundreds of new job opportunities. It’s always an exciting day when an existing company is committed to continuing growth in the Valley and we are pleased to partner with the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to celebrate this announcement.” – John Bradley, TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development 

“Yet another huge commitment to our community by McKee Foods, a home-grown business, that continues to invest in Hamilton County year after year. We congratulate McKee on this expansion and look forward to continuing to see the new jobs this company will bring to our region for many years to come.” – Sen. Bo Watson (R-Hixson)

“It’s great when companies who know us best decide to expand their business in Hamilton County. McKee Foods is a valued, long-time family-owned business in our community and I’m confident it will continue to thrive here for many years to come. I appreciate the efforts of our local officials and economic development leaders who work to promote and advance our new and existing industries.” – Rep. Esther Helton (R-East Ridge)

TNECD Media Contact
Scott Harrison, Public Information Officer
(615) 417-2076
Scott.Harrison@tn.gov

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tnecd.com. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tnecd.

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