DECATUR – The old Brush College School is now a blank slate as National Foodworks Services prepares to begin major construction on the facility.
Crews have been gutting the old school for months as it transitions into a 40,000 square foot food production facility. Tony Caccomo is one of the partners and says they have just received the building permits and are now ready for some renovations.
“Basic construction will begin in the next few days and should be done in around 90 days,” says Caccomo. “We’ve ripped out everything inside the building and are putting in new electric, HVAC, and plumbing.”
Caccomo says they are planning to build a room where the courtyard area used to be and make that into a food storage area. He says they are also building loading docks, forklift ramps, and many other things involved with a food production facility. NFS has already faced some challenges with the facility.
“The biggest challenge is not knowing what you have when it comes to infrastructure,” he says. “So we had to gut everything and open it up to find out what needs replacing. The walls look good and we are happy with the ceilings. Now we have the challenge of putting everything together the way we want it.”
ADM has recently announced a partnership with NFS and pledged $2 million to help with their startup. Caccomo says that money will be used for construction purposes as they are taking on a big renovation job. He says he is also very excited for what the future will hold with the partnership with ADM.
NFS is also hoping to be a facility where food entrepreneurs can come in and grow their product. Caccomo says they will have training rooms where the entrepreneurs can learn how market and produce their own products.
“In the long run, we’d like to see our facility and this area of Decatur become a hub for new food entrepreneurs who want to have excellent productions space, marketing and financing services, as well as access to ADM and their great products,” says Caccomo.
Caccomo believes they should begin operation in late January of 2016. When they are up and running, he says they should employ 25-35 people in management and production positions. He says they also plan to purchase some of the land next to the school for future expansion opportunities. When they begin to develop the 10 acres they plan to purchase, Caccomo says they hope to add 100,000 to 200,000 square feet of food manufacturing space. However, Caccomo says that might not happen for a few years, but it should result in many more jobs.
As for the future of the company, Caccomo says NFS is very excited with what could be possible.
“There are very few startups that have the opportunity to work with a company the stature of ADM,” says Caccomo. “So we are extraordinarily excited for the opportunities in the future.”