Ground broken on Southern Classic Food Group’s new Brundidge facility

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 29, 2002

Features Editor

Ground has been broken for the construction of Southern Classic Food Group’s new facility in Brundidge. However, the official ground breaking ceremony won’t be until 10 a.m. April 12.

Chuck Caraway, owner of the food manufacturing business, doesn’t mind that the two events won’t coincide, he is just happy to see the work underway.

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Southern Classic Food Group opened temporarily on Main Street in Brundidge in January 2001 and is operating out of rented space in four different buildings in the downtown area.

"Those business operations will be consolidated into the new facility, which will be located in the last parcel of land inside the city limits on Highway 93," Caraway said. "The facility will occupy four acres, but we have 75 acres, which gives us room for growth."

The land was purchased, Caraway said, through the combined efforts of the city of Brundidge, the Brundidge Industrial Development Board and Southern Classic Food Group.

Caraway said recent industrial growth in Brundidge benefited his business.

Around the same time, Caraway was planning his business project, Carter Brothers expanded their operation and Wal-Mart announced the location of a distribution center in Brundidge. Grant money was available which would assist all three projects.

The timing and place were right for Caraway.

He was interested in locating in Brundidge for several reasons.

First, having worked for a food manufacturer in Brundidge. he was familiar with the community.

"I knew there was an available work force that was already trained in the business,"

he said. "And, Brundidge has a waste water treatment plant that could adequately handle the waste from a food manufacturing business. Brundidge is proactive and is making things happen. I knew it would be a good place to grow a business."

Growing a business is exactly what Caraway has in mind.

The 50,000 square-foot facility is the starting point at the new site and there is plenty of room for it to grow "as needed."

Southern Classic Food Group makes food service and speciality products, including salad dressings, mayonnaise, marinades, a full assortment of condiments and all kinds of sauces -barbecue, soy, tartar, cocktail and Worcestershire.

For now, the company is

packaging products for private labels, but Caraway has plans, one day, to have his own label.

His more immediate plans, however, are to occupy the warehouse on the new business site by summer, enter the manufacturing phase by the fall and be at full production by year’s end.

"We have 22 full time employees and, by mid-summer, we expect to have 30," Caraway said. "The plan was to have grown to 40 full time employees in three years. Right now we are ahead of that pace."

Caraway is ahead of the pace and very enthusiastic about the prospects of growing a business in Brundidge.

"Good things are happening in Brundidge and the outlook for future growth is good," he said.

"We are recruiting and maintaining jobs and that’s good business and good for business," he said. "Somebody is bound to benefit."