Request Foods plans $205M expansion, adding nearly 200 jobs

Zeeland-based Request Foods Inc. plans an investment of $205 million in Holland Township that will expand its warehouse and manufacturing space.

The contract packer of frozen entrees, sides, and skillet meals says it intends to hire 198 new employees over the next four years, add a 145,000-square-foot cold storage warehouse, and construct an 89,000-square-foot ready-to-eat foods manufacturing facility.

The private-owned company also will renovate an existing 30,000-square-foot warehouse, as well as enhance production capacity by adding 112,000 square feet to its Greenly Street location, which is also in Holland.

The majority of new hires will be from Holland Township, which edged out other communities and states for the company’s business, says Menaka Abel, chief financial officer at Request Foods.

“While we received enticing offers to expand in other states, our commitment to Michigan, coupled with our desire to ensure Holland is recognized as an area of choice to live and work, precipitated our decision to expand locally,” says Abel.

“We are grateful for the cooperation we have received from Holland Township, Ottawa County, and state of Michigan officials — along with the support we have received from Lakeshore Advantage and our partners at Warner Norcross + Judd, which enabled us to bring our expansion plans to fruition. With God at the forefront of all that we do, Request is unrelenting in its pursuit to provide quality food products for its customers and dedication to the stewardship of its people and community.”

Community partners

The company has the financial backing of local community partners. West Michigan Works! will support the project with a workforce hiring training plan valued at $632,650. Request Foods will receive a $6.9 million Community Development Block Grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund, a $2 million Business Development Program Grant, a $2.1 million state Essential Services Exemption, and a 6-mill state education tax exemption with an estimated value of almost $2.6 million over 12 years.

Rendering of Request Food's expansion project.

Quentin L. Messer Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) and president and chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund board, says the public-private partnership is helping to build a “championship economy” in the Holland region and throughout Michigan.

Moreover, Holland Township has proposed a 12-year Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption that will go in front of the Township Board at a later date, with an approximate value of $10.4 million.

Expansion support 

Additionally, MEDC has approved support for an Agricultural Renaissance Zone that will support the project with an estimated $11 million in property tax abatement that will require final approval from the Michigan Department of Agriculture later this year.

“We were able to come alongside Request Foods as an extended member of their team on this expansion project, understand their growth milestones, and deploy state and local resources to support their expansion in Holland Township,” said Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage president. “We are pleased to support Request Foods through their expansion process and commend their commitment to West Michigan.”

Request Foods’ expansion into Holland underscores Michigan as a food and agriculture powerhouse, according to Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“Request Foods’ commitment to significant investment in food processing will serve our production agriculture value chains for decades to come while bringing the latest in food manufacturing technology to the state,” says McDowell.

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Paul R. Kopenkoskey.