Henny Penny opens $7.5M expansion

Preble County restaurant-equipment manufacturer Henny Penny Corp. has opened a new 46,000-square-foot expansion at its headquarters campus in Eaton, company officials announced Friday.

The $7.5 million expansion, located within the Wagner Building, includes a test kitchen, a high-tech training room, a 90-seat auditorium and a lounge area for special events and employee gatherings. The expansion also includes additional manufacturing and office space.

This is Henny Penny’s fifth major expansion since the company was established in 1957.

The Eaton-based company designs and produces commercial grade cooking, holding and display equipment for clients that include KFC, McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A restaurants.

Officials said nearly 1,000 people, including customers and partners, are trained on products and services each year. Henny Penny’s own employees average more than 40 hours of training per year.

“This expansion will provide the resources to take our training program to the next level,” said Rob Connelly, Henny Penny president and chief executive, in a statement.

“This dedicated high-tech space fits right in line with our goals to continuously innovate and provide the highest-quality customer service. We’re excited to see how this space will make us better and give our training and product development teams the tools they need to be even more successful,” Connelly said

The expansion opening was celebrated Thursday night by area dignitaries and Henny Penny employees. A community event and open house is slated for the spring of 2016.

Henny Penny employs about 600 workers in Eaton and has annual sales of about $185 million. In December 2014, it became an employee-owned company.

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