Great Lakes Cheese (GLC) has broken ground on a 286,500-square-foot cheese packaging and distribution plant that is expected to employ 500 people in Abilene, Texas.

Family- and employee-owned, Great Lakes Cheese celebrated its 60th year of business in 2018. GLC’s longstanding record of investing in thriving communities is tied directly to the company operating under an ownership culture. Through their Employee Stock Ownership Plan, all employees have a stake in the business and share in the rewards.

Last month, the Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA) Board of Directors and Abilene City Council approved a $33.3 million incentive package funded by the DCOA. In addition to the funding provided by the DCOA, the project received both a Veteran’s Fund and a Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) grant from the office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

“What a tremendous opportunity for Abilene,” said Jack Rich, Chairman of the DCOA Board. “For every dollar the DCOA has invested in GLC, the company will invest $12 back into the community through initial capital investment, property taxes, school taxes, sales taxes and wages over the next 10 years.”

The company has a national footprint with facilities in Ohio, New York, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin – with over 2 million square feet of production space and over 100 production lines. As the country’s largest natural cheese packager, GLC serves grocery, club, and super stores, restaurant chains, and foodservice distributors.

“The project is estimated to generate $1.3 billion in total projected economic impact over the next 10 years,” said Mayor Anthony Williams. “Attracting Great Lakes Cheese is a critical step in ensuring the vision of our community.”

Great Lakes Cheese is an award-winning manufacturer and packager of natural and processed bulk, shredded, and sliced cheeses. Abilene’s strategic location in south central United States with access to major highways is a key factor in the location of GLC’s new facility, allows them to continue their legacy of high quality and service to their customer base. GLC’s commitment to quality and service has led them to win over 180 awards in the last 25 years.

“This groundbreaking marks the beginning of our generational commitment to Abilene,” Chief Executive Officer Dan Zagzebski said. “Great Lakes Cheese’s expansion into Texas represents our dedication to provide exceptional service to our customers. We look forward to investing in this great community and our Abilene employee-owners.”