May 4, 2006

Roundy’s Reveals New Big Chiller: Kenosha Plant Will Churn Out Company’s Ice Cream, Water, Meat

By Doris Hajewski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

May 4--Kenosha -- Roundy's Supermarkets Inc. unveiled its new $26 million commissary Wednesday, a 116,000-square-foot refrigerated building that will turn out Roundy's brand of ice cream, juices, bottled water, meats and salads for Pick 'n Save, Rainbow and Copp's supermarkets.

Roundy's has been buying these products from outside suppliers. making the foods, the Milwaukee-based supermarket chain will have complete control of ingredients and distribution, said Mario Jedwabnik, vice president of food manufacturing.

"It's all about freshness and quality," Jedwabnik said.

Roundy's began selling food under its label in 1922 and now has more than 2,200 private-label items. The new food production plant will allow the chain to upgrade its deli with new menu items and more variety, Jedwabnik said.

The facility is expected to create 100 to 150 jobs when fully operational the end of the year. Production is moving along in phases, starting with bagged ice and bottled water. Orange juice production lines will come next.

Roundy's water and ice is made from Kenosha municipal water from Lake Michigan, which is filtered through a reverse osmosis process and sterilized with ultraviolet light.

The two ice machines in the plant will turn out 140 tons of ice a day, Jedwabnik said.

Temperatures inside the new building will range from 40 degrees in the food-preparation areas to 80 degrees below zero in a spiral freezer that rises 2 1/2 stories high. The spiral racks will take ice cream from the packaging area and turn it into solid bricks that can be shipped to stores.

The facility will produce 3,500 cartons of ice cream an hour beginning this summer.

Roundy's chose the Kenosha site because the company already owned the land at 5500 52nd St. but had decided not to build a store there. The city was willing to rezone the retail site for use as a production facility, company spokeswoman Vivian King said.

Roundy's received $250,000 in community development zone tax credits from the state for the facility. The credits are tied to job creation at the plant.


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