Sweet success: Hudsonville Ice Cream expands — again

For the fourth time in three years — and the second time this year — Hudsonville Creamery and Ice Cream Co. will expand its Holland-based operations. 

“This is only the most recent addition that this wonderful company has made here in our city, and this is a big one,” Holland City Manager Keith Van Beek said during a Dec. 16 City Council meeting.

“This is an investment that pays back on that tax base forever,” Van Beek said at the meeting.

The company, which had 73 employees at the beginning of its latest expansion, will increase that number by nearly 50% in the next few years.

Team effort

The $51 million, 150,000-square-foot expansion is being helped along by several regional and state agencies.

The Holland City Council, at its December meeting, unanimously approved a 12-year Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption, estimated to save the company almost $6 million. And a 3-mill State Education Tax exemption is estimated to shave off more than $600,000 from the company’s tax bill over the next 12 years.

“Especially in times of economic uncertainty, it’s great to have good folks making great investments in the city of Holland,” Holland Mayor Nathan Bocks said during the meeting.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is also supporting this project with $150,000 from the Food and Agriculture Investment Fund. The economic development incentive program focuses specifically on the growth of food and agriculture companies in Michigan through a performance-based grant. West Michigan Works! is backing the project in the amount of $457,000 to support the 47% increase in employment that Hudsonville Ice Cream will experience due to their growth. 

Lakeshore Advantage, the local economic development organization that assists employers with growth opportunities in Ottawa and Allegan counties, worked with the company to connect them with state and local resources to support their growth. 
“We were able to walk alongside Hudsonville Ice Cream on this expansion project, understand their growth milestones, and deploy state and local resources to support their expansion project in Holland,” says Jennifer Owens, President of Lakeshore Advantage.

Michigan is second in the nation for agricultural commodity production. The food and agriculture sector contributes more than $104 billion of the total economic activity for Michigan each year. 

Now hiring

The company, at 345 E. 48th St. in Holland, has begun hiring for the expanded operations and is already approaching 100 employees.

“It seems we have three or four new employees joining Hudsonville every week as we grow,” says Chief Financial Officer Kevin Phillips. “We really feel fortunate to be an industry, especially this year, where the demand for our products has remained strong and we’ve been able to continue to manufacture.”

The starting wage at Hudsonville Ice Cream is $20 per hour, with additional bonuses and benefits. The company is hiring for a wide array of positions, including production, material handlers, quality testing, and supervisors. 

“We value being an employer of choice in this community, and the skills and work ethic our team members bring to work each day,” Phillips says. “We’re pleased to be consumers of Michigan’s dairy commodity that is abundantly available for us to create great products for our customers.”

More dessert

The expansion will include cold storage to store and ship out ice cream to retailers across the U.S., as well as added production capacity to serve more customers and produce new forms of frozen desserts, Phillips says.
The company’s expansion earlier this year included dry goods storage. The latest expansion started in September 2020 and is expected to be completed in September 2022.

Hudsonville Ice Cream makes more than 50 ice cream flavors, from classic family-size favorites to its dairy-free and Extra Indulgent pint lineups, which are available in more than a dozen states.
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