MAJOR STEP IN $6.525 MILLION PROJECT
Published in the May 6, 2021 Adair County Community Voice
The city of Columbia has received preliminary approval for a $1 million grant toward the purchase of property it will then lease to a food service company planning to locate in the community.
The city plans to purchase the former Majestic Yachts property for $1.5 million and lease it to Synergy Food Group, a Tennessee company that specializes in in-store deli and food service programs.
Mayor Pamela Hoots received approval by the city council Monday night, May 3, 2021 for a budget amendment and a federal housing resolution that will be required for the city to receive the Community Development Block Grant. The city is committing $525,000 to the project and will borrow $500,000 to be paid back as the company pays its lease agreement. The company is committing $5 million toward the project, for a total project cost of $6,525,000.
“I’m just excited that they are coming,” Mayor Hoots said following Monday night’s council meeting. She said the company expects to provide 50 jobs in the beginning with plans of expanding to 300 jobs within three to five years. Hourly pay is expected to be between $12 and $18 an hour. Hoots believes the grant will be finalized within the next four to six weeks. She said the company has recently expanded its product line.
“They originally were shelf stable meals, and now they’ve gone into the freezer packaged meals. They work with Meals on Wheels, the elderly, and insurance companies in other states, to get packaged meals out to people,” she said.
Synergy Food Group, LLC, is owned and operated by Greg and Barry Durrett. During a telephone interview in February, Greg Durrett said he started the company in 2013.
“The company has been supplying handcrafted products to grocery store delis around the Southeast,” Durrett said. “When Covid came along, we were asked if we could supply frozen meals, which we can, and that expanded into meal kits, both frozen and shelf stable.”
Durrett said they want to come to Columbia because they have outgrown their facilities, some of which they own and operate and others with which they contract.
The grant application states that the plant would produce Kentucky Proud products, and Durrett said the existing supply chain would be used. The family are Green County natives and Barry Durrett has returned to Green County and will oversee the Columbia operation.
“We are excited about the opportunity to come to Columbia. We hope everything works out. We want it to work out and we want to employ a lot of people,” Durrett said.
Mayor Hoots said she plans to have the company owners in Columbia within the next few weeks to meet with members of the public.
The Majestic Yachts property, located at 100 Westwood Way at the intersection of Burkesville Road and the bypass, is a the 10-acre property that includes 32,000 sq. ft. under roof with several offices as well as two high-ceiling garage areas.
By Sharon Burton