Columbus Gourmet Inc. has plans to expand into a new facility and hire 50 new workers, the company announced today.
The food manufacturing and marketing business — which specializes in gourmet foods, contract manufacturing, packaging and baking — will move from a Brown Avenue location into a new 30,000-square foot headquarters in Corporate Ridge Business Park in Columbus.
It is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year. The company, which already employs 26 people, has begun hiring efforts to fill its additional slots, said Bryan Stone, president and chief executive officer.
The expansion required an investment of more than $1 million, much of which was funded through a federal grant. Stone said Dr. Robert Wright, founder of local small business incubator Two-Thousand Opportunities Inc., had alerted him to the opportunity from the Office of Community Services’ economic development division, which provides grants to businesses that create jobs for low-income community members.
The 50 jobs will include bakery, marketing and graphic design positions.
Stone moved to Columbus with his wife in 2004 to establish Columbus Gourmet. In a little more than two years, the Alpharetta, Ga., native took the company from being a seasonal operation to year-round. He purchased local brands Kendrick Pecan and Aunt Pearlie’s Dinner Sides and today, they are distributed in more than 1,000 grocery stores throughout the Southeast — including Publix Supermarkets, Winn Dixie and Whole Foods. Columbus Gourmet’s licensed products are also sold at venues such as the PGA Tour, Kentucky Derby and more than 50 colleges and universities.
Mike Gaymon, president and chief executive officer, met Stone when he first moved to the city. He recalls hearing Stone describe the big plans he had for his company.
“Businesses don’t grow because they want to,” Gaymon said. “They grow because they work hard.”
And Stone has done exactly that, he added. “He’s done what he said he wanted to do.”
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