Bob Evans sells plant

L.A. company buys Springfield sausage facility for $90K.

Bob Evans Farms sold its Springfield sausage plant Friday to a California-based private equity firm as 52 jobs will be eliminated when it closes later this year.

The 38,200-square-foot building is appraised at $754,200, according to Clark County Auditor’s Office records, but sold for $90,900.

Last year, the company said it would close the plant, which makes sausage, soups and gravy, as part of a strategy to consolidate the company’s business for long term growth. New Mill Capital in Los Angeles bought the plants Friday in Springfield and Bidwell, Ohio, as well as the company’s former headquarters in Columbus.

“Bob Evans presence in Springfield is not diminishing, but is merely changing according to the new strategic approach of our company,” said company spokeswoman Margaret Standing in an e-mail.

In Springfield, the company so far has recently:

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• Sold a distribution facility in Airpark Ohio for $11.7 million to Millard Refrigerated Services.

• Built a $3.5 million transportation center last year in Airpark Ohio estimated to bring around 100 jobs.

• Sold the sausage plant at 2110 W. Jefferson St. for $90,900. When it closes, 52 job will be cut.

• Partnered with the upcoming Global Impact STEM Academy in Springfield, offering curriculum assistance and internships for students.

Bob Evans used proceeds from the sale of the Bidwell, Ohio, facility to create a grant for the University of Rio Grande’s hospitality management training program, Standing said. The company didn’t disclose what it will do with the proceeds from the Springfield sale, including if it would go to the STEM academy.

Bob Evans hasn’t announced an official closing date for the Springfield plant, but Standing said the plant will close in the second half of the year. The company will lease the plant from New Mill Capital until the closing date is announced.

Of the 52 workers, most have chosen to continue to work until the plant closes, Standing said.

“We have been working to identify positions for them in other parts of the company,” she said, citing the new transportation center and the newly acquired Kettle Creations in Lima, Ohio, as places where employees can transfer.

“For employees who choose not to stay with the company, we’re offering comprehensive packages, including severance, outplacement assistance and other benefits,” she added.

Officials from Job and Family Services of Clark County couldn’t be reached Friday, but typically the department conducts workshops for companies planning major job cuts.

Local officials hope the sale will spur interest in filling the Jefferson Street site. New Mill Capital, which didn’t return calls or e-mails for comment, had already posted the site for sale on its website Friday.

“New Mill Capital’s acquisition of the sausage plant is the next logical progression for the facility,” Springfield City Manager Jim Bodenmiller said. “Our hope is that New Mill will soon find a tenant for the plant to keep the facility operating and bring jobs in to replace those lost.”

Standing said the company has reached out to its partners to keep Springfield’s locations viable. Millard Refrigerated Services and New Mill “are working to grow and develop these properties, bringing increased economic opportunity to the area,” she said.

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