Ohio-based Velvet Ice Cream announces major plant expansion

IMG_3883UTICA, OH – On the heels of significant expansion into the Kentucky and other markets, Utica, Ohio-based Velvet Ice Cream is about to embark on the largest capital improvement in the company’s storied 101-year history. This August, Velvet will break ground on a major 21,000-square-foot facility expansion, with an estimated cost of more than $3 million. The move will add a brand new, state-of-the-art warehouse freezer distribution facility to Velvet Ice Cream’s Utica plant at Ye Olde Mill, more than doubling the company’s freezing and picking capacity. As demand for Velvet Ice Cream has soared, the ice cream manufacturer is on pace to outgrow its current capacity within the next 12 months.

“With steady growth that has taken the company from $25 million in revenue in 2009 to more than $30 million in 2014, we are nearly at capacity with our existing distribution facility,” said Velvet Ice Cream President Luconda Dager. “This new development allows us to improve sustainability, sharpen efficiencies and produce more delicious Velvet Ice Cream in order to meet increased demand.”

Velvet selected the Licking County firm Robertson Construction as general contractor. The expansion project is projected to take 7-8 months and is expected to be operational by April 2016. Currently employing a staff of 125, Velvet’s new distribution facility will require the addition of eight new employees in its picking and shipping operations. However, the development enables the company to expand production as new accounts are acquired, which could increase future employment. The project also uses the latest green technology, minimizing the company’s environmental footprint via environmentally friendly design, motion controlled energy efficient lighting, state-of-the-art insulating panels and high-speed automated doors.

Dager added that thanks to the support of tax abatement from North Fork Local School District and Velvet’s partners at People’s Bank and Freije-RSC Engineered Solutions Company, the expansion will make it possible for the company to not only continue serving existing customers, but also enter new markets and forge new partnerships, like those Velvet already has with major retailers and other food service partners.

Velvet Ice Cream celebrates its 101 years making ice cream in Ohio. Founded in 1914 by Joseph Dager, four generations of Dager family have since run the company. Still family-owned and operated, Velvet produces and distributes more than 5 million gallons of ice cream every year from its headquarters on the grounds of Ye Olde Mill. Ye Olde Mill also houses an ice cream and milling museum, a restaurant, playground, picnic area and catch-and-release fish pond.

Named by Frommer’s as one of America’s 10 Best Ice Cream Factory Tours, Velvet’s Ye Olde Mill welcomes 150,000 visitors each year for tours, tastings and events. The annual Ice Cream Festival (May 28-30, 2016), group tour experiences and school learning field trips are among the many draws to Ye Olde Mill, which is open to the public April 20-October 31. Complete information about Velvet Ice Cream and Ye Olde Mill is available www.VelvetIceCream.com on Twitter at @VelvetIceCream or Facebook.com/VelvetIceCream.

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