McKee Foods officials announced on March 10 plans to make major investments to their Collegedale operations, including $500 million in capital projects.
Some of the projects include an expansion of the Apison Plant to include new production lines, as well as other investments in some of their other Collegedale facilities. In addition, the company is devoted to creating 450 new jobs over the next 15 years and 125 jobs during the first seven of those years.
“There certainly could be student work opportunities down the line,” said the company’s spokesman Mike Gloekler. “Not to mention, the overall growth of McKee Foods is important for our entire community.”
According to an article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, this investment planned by McKee is the biggest business expansion announced in the Chattanooga area since 2019 when Volkswagen announced a $800 million extension of its operations.
The expansion is expected to be completed in phases, the first phase commencing this summer. According to Gloekler, currently no delays are expected due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“There has been no discussion about delays,” Gloekler said. “Construction as an industry has not yet been limited by the government, so we will assume we are full-speed ahead.”
McKee Foods broke ground on the Apison Plant in April 1996 and began production in May 1997. This investment would be the fourth major expansion the company has gone through.
“McKee Foods is very pleased that we are able to bring more jobs and more bakery capacity to our Hamilton County operations,” said Mike McKee, McKee Foods Corporation president and CEO. “Our family business is blessed to have such deep roots in southeast Tennessee.”