Nestlé Formally Dedicates Jonesboro Plant

October 29, 2003 - Posted at 3:07 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR - Nestlé officials from Switzerland, California and Ohio joined with Nestlé employees in Jonesboro Wednesday morning to welcome guests, including Governor Mike Huckabee and Jonesboro Mayor Hubert Brodell, to the company's new manufacturing facility here.

Governor Huckabee compared the day to his best ever Christmas morning as a kid, saying, "I doubt in my lifetime have we had a more significant plant opening than the Nestlé plant coming to Jonesboro. And the impact is not just for Northeast Arkansas, but for the entire state."

Together, company and state officials dedicated the new facility, which has actually been in operation since late March of this year, making Stouffer's and Lean Cuisine frozen prepared meals. Following the dedication ceremony, guests were invited to tour the facility where those products are now being made. Right now the plant has two operational lines up and running, producing 24 different products, employing 400 people. Plant officials say that within 3 to 5 years there will be 6 operational lines and 1,000 employees.

Governor Huckabee says Nestle is the gold standard in the food industry and he's proud of the fact that plant executives chose Jonesboro out of 753 other possible locations. "People understand that when Nestlé goes somewhere, it can go anywhere it wants to go, and it chooses very carefully based on what's a good mix for its company," said Huckabee.

For Nestlé CEO Peter Brabeck from Switzerland, that mix is not about tax breaks or preferential treatment. Brabeck said, "In the long run, the decisive factor will be the people, the community you are in, the neighborhood you are in and we are in a very good neighborhood."

Governor. Huckabee added, "When you see the Nestlé motto it says, 'good food, good life.' If I were writing that I'd add another one, 'good neighbor,' because that's what Nestlé has already become."

And being a good neighbor, the governor offered the Nestlé executives a larger than life replica of the new Arkansas state quarter, made of chocolate, Nestlé chocolate of course.

The $165 million investment in a 325,000 square foot production facility, announced by Nestlé in July 2001, is the largest capital investment ever undertaken by the company.