Jay Hare – Dothan Eagle
An expansion planned more than two years ago became a reality Tuesday with the official grand opening of a new addition to Headland’s Red Star Yeast plant.
The focus of the addition, which reflects a $22 million investment and the addition of around 20 jobs, is a new dry yeast facility. The plant has historically produced a fresh liquid yeast for the industrial bakery market.
Executives from Red Star Yeast, and parent companies Lesaffre and Archer Daniels Midland, were on hand for grand opening festivities, which began Monday evening with a dinner. The grand opening continued Tuesday with a tour of the new addition and comments from those involved in the expansion process.
Plans for the expansion of the Headland facility began to gain momentum in March of 2014. Officials within Henry County along with assistance from Houston County helped make the expansion a reality.
“This is a great example of regionalism and partnership,” Henry County Probate Judge and County Commission Chairman David Money said. “Sometimes it can be hard for a rural county of 17,000 on limited budgets to get big on industrial recruiting, but with the help of others it shows what can be done.”
Room is available for additional expansion if desired in the future.
Tuesday’s grand opening marks the first significant addition at the plant since 1999, when its fermentation capacity was expanded. The plant has been in operation since 1989.
The plant previously employed about 50.