Mayor touts ‘Caffeine Capital’Published 10:49pm Thursday, May 8, 2014
Traditionally, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce’s State of the City series is an opportunity for Tidewater’s various mayors to do a bit of cheerleading for their particular cities.
Suffolk officials have participated heartily in that custom through the years, but they have also tried to use the gathering of government and business leaders to make some major economic announcements.
With about 500 people attending Suffolk’s installment of the series on Tuesday — many of them visiting the city from other locations for the afternoon — Mayor Linda T. Johnson continued her tradition with a handful of big economic announcements.
Two of those announcements involve Suffolk companies’ efforts to meet the growing demand for single-serve coffee products.
“Whether you prefer a cup of tea or a mug of coffee, you might say that Suffolk is the caffeine capital of the United States,” Johnson quipped in her speech.
She then related plans by Massimo Zanetti to begin producing single-serve coffee pods at its facility in the Wilroy Industrial Park.
The company’s Filter Cups will capitalize on the growing market for single-serving brews, providing alternatives in the Chock full o’Nuts, Hills Bros. and Kauai Coffee brands, as well as in a number of private-label brands, according to a joint press release from Massimo Zanetti and the city of Suffolk.
“The revolutionary, new open-filter design brews a superior cup of coffee, allowing our consumers to see, smell and taste a difference,” Brian Kubicki, the company’s vice president of marketing, stated in the release.
Installing the production line in Suffolk is expected to cost the company about $4 million and create an additional 10 jobs at the plant, company officials stated.
“Suffolk has proven to be an excellent place to operate our business,” stated Chuck Gosstrom, senior vice president of supply chain. “Here, we are able to find the technical talent we need to fulfill our mission to produce world-class coffee.”
Located next door to the Massimo Zanetti facility is the J.M. Smucker Co., which produces Folgers brand coffee, along with other famous Smucker’s products, and that company also had a big announcement ready for the State of the City address.
A $4 million, 13,000-square-foot addition to the company’s liquid coffee processing facility will enable Smucker’s to produce its Folgers blends in “super sacks,” Johnson stated. The project includes additional warehouse space that could support future growth, as well as $1 million in advanced warehousing and processing equipment, according to a joint release from company and city officials.
“Suffolk, the Port of Virginia and the state of Virginia (have) been the perfect mix of what we needed to grow as a company, and this investment signifies J.M. Smucker’s continued commitment to the city of Suffolk,” company representative Maribeth Burns stated.
Johnson could not ignore the chance to have a little fun when making the announcements on Tuesday.
“Take a whiff of the delectable aroma of fresh coffee as you drive down Route 58 at the Nansemond Parkway overpass, and you will agree that we have ‘grounds’ to claim the title ‘Caffeine Capital,’” she quipped.