A food processing company that produces cooked bacon has begun cleaning up the former Kroger in the Westwood neighborhood and will soon redevelop the blighted property for warehouse space.
SugarCreek last month purchased the former Kroger grocery store at 900 N. Gettysburg Ave. for $215,000.
The company, one of the nation’s leading food manufacturers, plans to store equipment at the property, which will be repaired for SugarCreek’s facility up the road at 1241 N. Gettysburg Ave., as well as the company’s other locations.
SugarCreek bought the empty, 52,000-square-foot building as part of proactive measures to reuse and revitalize buildings around the Gettysburg corridor, stem further blight and support the long-term sustainability of the west side community, said Rachel Hopkins, executive special events manager with SugarCreek.
“We are committed to the West Dayton area, we will continue to operate and employ in Dayton and we are excited about what the future holds for both SugarCreek and Dayton,” she said.
Kroger closed the Gettysburg property in 2008 after about 20 years in business. Company representatives said the store was not profitable and lost $1.4 million a year before it shuttered.
The company’s decision was harshly criticized by some community members, who hoped to attract another grocery store or retailer to the property.
Those efforts were unsuccessful, but in 2010, Revival Center Ministries International announced plans to purchase the building to become the church’s new home.
In late 2011, Revival Center Ministries, located at 3011 Oakridge Drive, entered into a land contract with the property owner to purchase the site for $650,000. The church received the deed in late 2015.
But last month, Revival Center Ministries sold the property to SugarCreek.
The company has started repairing the structure and has cleaned up the parking lot and area surrounding the building.
The company says the project will create new jobs, but does not know how many.
SugarCreek has 474 employees at the Gettsyburg facility up the road and a small number of employees at a facility on James H. McGee Boulevard.
The Dayton facility opened in 1975 and was expanded in 2002 to add capabilities to produce fully cooked bacon.
The facility also does processing for retail and food service of raw bacon, bacon pizza toppings and “smoke house capability.”
The Dayton facility is “extremely important” to the company because it is the only place where fully cooked bacon is produced, Hopkins said.
Dayton has a good employee base, which helps with hiring, an affordable cost of living and is centrally located, which makes it easy to transport manufactured products around the country and globe, Hopkins said.
SugarCreek has three manufacturing facilities in Ohio, as well as three corporate offices that employ 1,351 workers.
Companywide, there are 2,589 workers.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said SugarCreek has been an asset for West Dayton that will help turn an eyesore into a productive job site.
“I appreciate their corporate stewardship of the community,” she said.
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