Gerber to create up to 50 jobs, invest $30 million at Fort Smith plant

 July 08, 2020

FORT SMITH, Ark. – Gerber Products Company, a subsidiary of  Nestlé S.A., is adding a product line at its manufacturing facility in Fort Smith, the company announced today. As part of this expansion, Gerber is generating up to 50 full-time jobs and investing $30 million for new food manufacturing and food processing equipment and machinery and infrastructure improvements at the site.

“We appreciate the state of Arkansas and the city of Fort Smith’s partnership and participation in supporting our project,” Gerber President and CEO Bill Partyka said. “Gerber has had a long-standing relationship with the state of Arkansas and the Fort Smith community, and we look forward to continuing that relationship for many years to come.”

Gerber’s Fort Smith plant has been in operation since 1964. The facility produces a range of products including 1st Foods®, 2nd Foods® and 3rd Foods® purees in plastic and glass containers, GERBER® GRADUATES® Meat Sticks® and GERBER® infant cereals.

Arkansas Department of Commerce Secretary and Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Mike Preston praised Gerber’s partnership with the state and the Fort Smith community.

“Since coming to Arkansas in 1964, Gerber has had a significant impact on the Fort Smith economy and has been a valued corporate citizen in the community,” Secretary Preston said. “They have chosen to remain here and expand numerous times, and we are always grateful to companies that have chosen to call Arkansas home. They have participated in our Manufacturing Day several times and were instrumental in helping to develop and launch our Future Fit program. I wish them continued success.”  

“The Gerber expansion is another great example of how the chamber and city of Fort Smith work together to retain a legacy company in this community. Governor Asa Hutchinson and Secretary Preston’s team were working in tandem with the chamber to win this project.” Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tim Allen said. “Thank you, Gerber, for your continued investment in Fort Smith.”

Fort Smith city directors passed a resolution on Tuesday to issue $30 million in industrial development revenue bonds to help finance the project, which will retain 480 employees in addition to creating new jobs.

Gerber has entered into a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement with the city of Fort Smith to abate up to 65 percent of property taxes for 15 years. The company also qualified for the AEDC Create Rebate Program, which provides a payroll rebate for the expansion of the Fort Smith facility, and the AEDC Tax Back Program, which provides sales tax refunds on building materials, taxable machinery and equipment associated with the project.

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About Gerber Products Company

Gerber Products Company was founded in 1928 in Fremont, Mich. Gerber joined the Nestlé family on September 1, 2007. Gerber is a leader in early childhood nutrition. At Gerber, research informs everything we do – from the products we make, the nutrition education we deliver and the services we offer.

About the Arkansas Economic Development Commission 

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), a division of the Arkansas Department of Commerce, seeks to create economic opportunity by attracting higher-paying jobs, expanding and diversifying local economies in the state, increasing incomes and investment, and generating positive growth throughout The Natural State. Arkansas is a pro-business environment operating leaner, faster and more focused through a streamlined state government designed to act on corporate interests quickly and decisively. For more information, visit www.ArkansasEDC.com. The Arkansas Department of Commerce is the umbrella department for workforce and economic development drivers. Its divisions and regulatory boards include Division of Aeronautics, Waterways Commission, Wine Producers Council, Division of Workforce Services, Office of Skills Development, State Bank Department, Insurance Department, Securities Department, Economic Development Commission and Development Finance Authority. It was established July 2019 as part of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s wide-sweeping efficiency and transformation efforts to reduce 42 cabinet agencies to 15 while maintaining services for all Arkansans.