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Alpina Products

January 24, 2019 - 5:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alpina Products, batavia, business, news, notify.

Some potential buyer of the now-shuttered Alpina property in the Genesee Valley Ag Park is going to pick up an ultramodern dairy plant for a relative song, according to the man tasked with finding a buyer.

And it will sell soon, said Aaron Morgenstern, managing director of Harry Davis & Company, the firm handling the real estate listing.

"It's an opportunity that doesn't come along often," Morgenstern said. "I would expect we'll soon find a buyer. I'm 100-percent confident that it will be sold soon and I'll be surprised if it's July 4 and we're still talking about who will buy the plant."

Harry Davis & Company specializes in valuing dairy companies and handling dairy plant and operations sales. The company helped in the sale of the former Muller Quaker Dairy plant in Batavia when HP Hood acquired it from Dairy Farmers of America.

Alpina acquired the land and built the plant for $20 million in 2012. Over the next six years, Alpina invested another $50 million in buying more land in the ag park, adding equipment, including equipment for liquid yogurt production, and adding onto the facility in anticipation of increased production.

The fully automated plant will help the company that acquires it control labor costs; at full capacity, Morgenstern would expect the plant to employ about 100 people.

"Our goal is to find a new operator who will bring jobs back to the area and grow the facility to its full capacity," Morgenstern said.

Morgenstern said he couldn't disclose the asking price for the plant but said it's substantially less than the $70 million that Alpina invested.

"The value proposition is that this an opportunity for somebody not currently in New York State to get into one of the premier milk sheds in the United States," Morgenstern said. "Or it's an opportunity for somebody in New York to continue to capture this milk shed with a brand-new ultramodern facility."

Morgenstern said he's received about three dozen inquiries about the property from serious potential buyers since the plant went on the market last week.

In 2012, Alpina, based in Colombia, received $767,096 in tax incentives to build its first U.S. plant in Batavia. A large portion of those tax incentives was in the form of a PILOT -- Payment In Lieu Of Taxes -- in which Alpina paid a fee in exchange for reduced taxes on the increase in assessed value of the property. The amount of taxes due to the increase in assessed value graduates upward over the years, from zero percent the first year, to about 50 percent today.

The assessed value of the property $168,000 (commercial properties are assessed differently than residential properties to account for the depreciation of commercial buildings). CORRECTION: When looking at assessments, we only looked at one parcel. There is another parcel that Alpina owns with an assessed value of $4.2 million.

Jim Krencik, spokesman for the Genesee County Economic Development Center, said the GCEDC board has the option, under the PILOT agreement, to adjust the agreement, or even cancel the PILOT, to increase the tax bill to 100 percent of assessed value.

A potential pitfall of canceling the PILOT is that a new owner would not be eligible for a continued tax abatement. The board keeps the PILOT in place but adjusts the taxable amount, another company could get a new PILOT agreement. A canceled PILOT agreement potentially makes the property less marketable.

The Batavian contacted four of the five current GCEDC board members and all said they wanted to reserve comment on the status of the PILOT until they had more information.

The board doesn't meet again until February and the time period for making a decision about the future of the PILOT is February and March.

"As we move forward with the site, I’m keeping in mind that any decision regarding the PILOT is within a larger effort to continue to bring more capital investment and job growth at the Alpina site, the Ag Park and Genesee County," Krencik said.

If the amount of taxes due under the PILOT were adjusted, it wouldn't take effect until the tax years for municipalities and school districts, and if Morgenstern's prediction of a quick sale is correct, the issue would become moot.

When Muller Quaker sold its $200 million plant to DFA, DFA didn't immediately decide what to do with the plant and it sat vacant for more than a year. In that case, the GCEDC board adjusted the PILOT and DFA paid more than $655,000 in additional taxes to local governments in 2017. When HP Hood acquired the plant, the PILOT benefits were extended to Hood.

May 6, 2016 - 9:56am

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a final resolution for an application for assistance from Alpina Foods, Inc., at its May 5 board meeting.

Alpina Foods, Inc., will add 3,200 square feet to its existing facility in the Town of Batavia to accommodate space for a bottle-filling machine and packaging equipment for a new drinkable yogurt product.

The facility’s expansion will result in the creation of four new jobs and the retention of 23 current full-time employees. Based on the success of the product line and other growth opportunities there is the potential for the creation of additional new jobs at Alpina.

The company was approved for a sales tax exemption of $15,405 and a property tax exemption of $62,903. The project’s planned capital investment will total an estimated $1.1 million.

“It is exciting to see Alpina adding a new yogurt product to the marketplace that is being made right here in Genesee County,” said Christopher Suozzi, vice president of Business Development at the GCEDC.

“The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park is an important community asset and continued investment and expansion there will only help us market the site to other food processing and food manufacturing companies.”

May 3, 2016 - 8:26am

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider an expansion project for Alpina Foods, Inc., at its May 5 board meeting.

Alpina Foods, Inc., is planning to construct a 3,200-square-foot addition to its existing facility in Batavia to accommodate space for a new bottle-filling machine and packaging equipment for a new drinkable yogurt product.

The company’s investment will total more than $1.1 million in the drinkable yogurt line, resulting in the retention of 23 current full-time employees.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, on the first floor, across from Genesee Community College.

October 3, 2013 - 6:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Yancey's Fancy, Alpina Products.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider at its Oct. 3 board meeting final resolutions for tax exemptions related to Yancey’s Fancy’s new processing facility and an expansion project proposed by Alpina Foods.

Yancey’s Fancy is seeking sales tax and mortgage tax exemptions and a property tax abatement to build a new facility within the Buffalo East Technology Park (BETP) located in Pembroke. Yancey’s Fancy plans to purchase approximately 12 acres within the BETP and build a 112,000-square-foot facility. The company plans to keep its artisan cheese operation and retail store in the current location on 857 Main Road in Corfu, while operating the new processing facility for its other product lines.

Yancey’s Fancy currently has 108 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and expects to add 50 more over three years after the certificate of occupancy is obtained for the new facility.

Alpina Foods is seeking approval of a final resolution for sales tax exemption valued at $40,000 related to its proposed expansion plan. Alpina is planning a $2.5 million investment in new production equipment and $500,000 in interior construction (furniture, fixtures, and non-manufacturing equipment). Associated with this expansion plan, Alpina has committed to adding an additional 15 full-time equivalent employees to its workforce over the next three years after completion of the expansion project.  

A leading South American dairy products company, Alpina Foods constructed its first U.S. manufacturing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in 2011. The facility employs 50 full-time workers on site and has met initial job creation commitments ahead of schedule.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Dr. Bruce A. Holm Upstate Med & Tech Park -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, second floor, across from Genesee Community College.

August 8, 2013 - 8:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Alpina Products.

Press release:

Artisan dairy manufacturer Alpina Foods teams up with Udi’s Gluten Free Foods, America’s leading gluten-free brand, to provide wholesome, certified gluten-free granola for its Alpina Greek with Artisan Granola brand Greek yogurt.

“There’s just nothing like Alpina Greek with Artisan Granolas in stores right now,” says Gustavo Badino, Alpina Foods’ General Manager. “Partnering with Udi’s to prepare our proprietary blend of granolas helps us raise the bar for quality in the yogurt aisle, while also satisfying a niche in the market for a more fulfilling Greek yogurt option by offering consumers the only convenient, all-in-one yogurt and certified gluten-free-granola option.”

Established in 2008, Udi’s Gluten Free Foods has become a trusted brand for people seeking delicious, certified gluten-free baked goods. The company’s reputation for nutritious and flavorful handcrafted granola makes it an ideal partner for Alpina Foods.

“We’re excited to partner with a company that’s just as committed to providing consumers with quality foods as we are,” says Denise Sirovatka, VP of Marketing. “Our partnership with Alpina Foods is the first of its kind for us, and we look forward to seeing the success of this new relationship.” 

Each unique granola blend was created by a health and wellness chef to be paired with the different flavor varieties of Alpina Greek with Artisan Granolas. Udi’s will prepare the proprietary mix-ins at their certified-gluten free facility.

Alpina Greek with Artisan Granolas will be available on store shelves in early August.   Flavors will include: Blueberry with Almond Berry granola, Strawberry with Almond Berry granola, Vanilla Bean with Chai Spice granola, Honey with Chai Spice granola, Mango with Tropical Chia granola, Peach with Tropical Chia granola, and Plain with Superfoods granola.

Alpina brand yogurts are currently available in a wide variety of retailers throughout the U.S., including Wegmans Food Markets; Duane Reade; Delhaize Group store Hannaford; Sweetbay; other national and regional food retailers. Alpina yogurts are distributed by Lipari Foods in the Midwest and Dora’s Naturals in New York. For a full list of retailers, visit www.alpina.com.

July 12, 2013 - 10:46am

Press release:

Alpina Foods has confirmed its intent to purchase 10 acres of land adjacent its brand-new plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. The acquisition doubles the company’s footprint, and comes only nine months after the grand opening of its 40,000-square-foot, $20-million facility that specializes in Greek yogurt production.

Alpina selected the site to build its first-ever North American manufacturing facility in 2011, after researching locations throughout the country. Company leaders felt the highly skilled Western New York workforce, thriving local dairy industry, and convenient access to major U.S. markets made Batavia an optimal location. The site is Alpina’s 10th global manufacturing facility, following locations in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

“This purchase reinforces our commitment to Batavia,” said Gustavo Badino, general manager of Alpina Foods. “We intend to expand here, and maintain this operation as our primary U.S. manufacturing location.”

The company already employs 55 at the plant, exceeding the goal of 50 the company committed to hiring by 2014, and expects to bring in additional team members in the coming months as production continues to increase.

Alpina will lay out its plans for the land over the next 24 months. Company leaders have worked closely with the Genesee County Economic Development Center, as well as the State’s Excelsior Jobs Program and numerous other state and regional economic development organizations in establishing – and expanding – its presence in New York State.

Alpina Foods is committed to its presence in Batavia, and works with many community organizations to make a positive impact on the region. Through the company’s philosophy of “collective prosperity,” Alpina strives to deliver success beyond its business dealings and constantly improve the community in which it operates.

“We are committed to our success in Batavia and the U.S.,” Badino said. “It is our corporate practice to grow with our surroundings, hand-in-hand with our neighbors.”

April 24, 2013 - 9:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Alpina Products.

Press Release:

Artisan dairy manufacturer Alpina Foods has announced its Alpina Revive Greek yogurts are now available at another major regional supermarket retailer. Wegmans Food Markets, one of the largest private companies in the U.S., has been recognized as an industry leader and innovator, with stores across New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, which has been on FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list every year since its inception in 1998, has begun selling Alpina Revive Greek Yogurts at all their locations.

“We’re excited to continue to expand the availability of our products with retailers like Wegmans, who truly appreciate providing the best to their customers,” said Alpina Foods’ General Manager, Gustavo Badino. “The recent opening of our latest yogurt facility in Upstate New York has enabled us to greatly expand the availability of our yogurt and we’re thrilled to share our locally produced products with the region that has nurtured and supported our growth.”

Alpina Revive is an authentically strained, all-natural, and nonfat Greek yogurt that packs an impressive 14 grams of protein in every cup. It contains simple, natural ingredients such as milk and active yogurt cultures, is low in sugar and carbohydrates, and contains no artificial ingredients, sweeteners or flavors.

Each variety of Alpina Revive Greek yogurt is paired with a one-of-a-kind blend of gluten-free artisan granolas, crafted by a health & wellness chef to give consumers essential nutritional value for on-the-go lifestyles.  The four unique granola blends are prepared by Udi’s, the leading gluten-free baked goods company.

February 5, 2013 - 8:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Alpina Products.

Press Release

BATAVIA, N.Y. – Artisan dairy manufacturer Alpina Foods’ newest yogurt plant in Upstate, N.Y., has earned OU Kosher certification and has officially begun kosher manufacturing of Alpina Revive Greek yogurts and Alpina Bon Yurt traditional-style yogurts at the facility.

The OU rigorously monitors of all aspects of production. It supervises the process by which the food is prepared, examines the ingredients used to make the food, and regularly inspects the processing facilities to make sure that its standards are met.

“Our goal at Alpina is to produce and share healthy, wholesome foods with the world,” said Juan Pablo Fernandez, Alpina Foods General Manager. “Having kosher certified products enables us to continue in that goal and share our delicious, good-for-you products with even more people throughout the U.S.”

Alpina Revive is an authentically strained, all-natural and non-fat Greek yogurt that packs an impressive 14 grams of protein in every cup. It contains simple, natural ingredients such as milk and active yogurt cultures, is low in sugar, and contains no artificial ingredients, sweeteners or flavors. Each variety of Alpina Revive Greek yogurt is paired with a one-of-a-kind blend of gluten-free artisan granolas, crafted by a health & wellness chef to give consumers essential nutritional value for on-the-go lifestyles.  The four unique granola blends are manufactured by Udi’s, the leading gluten-free baked goods company.  

Alpina Bon Yurt is a creamy, low-fat vanilla yogurt that’s packed with calcium and eight grams of protein. Each variety of Alpina Bon Yurt is topped with timeless cereal favorites such as; frosted flakes, cocoa rice, fruit rings and cookie bits.

Alpina Revive Greek yogurts and are now available in a wide variety of retailers including Delhaize Group stores Hannaford and Sweetbay; Tops Friendly Markets; Gristedes; Morton Williams; Duane Reade; and other national and regional food retailers.

Consumers may also find Alpina Bon Yurt yogurts at the following retailers; Food lion, Hannaford, and Sweetbay.  For a complete list of retailers for all Alpina products, please visit please visit www.alpina.com.

September 24, 2012 - 5:44pm

Big event in Batavia today that I wish I could have attended and covered -- the grand opening of the Alpina yogurt plant. We did assign a photographer and should have more coverage later, but meanwhile, here's the official photo and press release from Alpina:

Alpina Foods today celebrated the official Grand Opening of its first North American manufacturing facility, the latest yogurt plant to open in Upstate New York. Though the 67-year-old company has sold its broad line of dairy products in American markets for several years, the Batavia, N.Y. facility is its first plant in the U.S.     

Joined by U.S. Congresswoman Kathleen Hochul, New York State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, and Empire State Development President and CEO Kenneth Adams, top officials from Alpina Foods and its Colombian parent company, Alpina, marked the occasion with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

“This is a momentous day for Alpina,” said Julian Jaramillo, Alpina’s CEO. “We would like to recognize the many people and organizations across the state that have helped make this moment a reality. We are excited to get started and continue to grow along with our employees, the region, and the yogurt industry in New York.”

The Alpina Foods plant already employs 30 new employees, and expects to hire at least 20 additional team members in the coming months. This is in addition to the 20 employees located in Alpina Foods’ Miami offices and in regional positions elsewhere in the U.S.

Over the past year, with the help of co-packing partners, the company has launched several new products for U.S. consumers: Alpina Revive Greek yogurt, Alpina Restart traditional yogurt, Alpina Renew oat smoothie, Bon Yurt by Alpina low-fat vanilla yogurts, and Juan Valdez Café Latte by Alpina.

“Today’s opening of Alpina Foods marks an exciting new phase of economic development in Genesee County and Western New York,” said Rep. Hochul. “With the initial creation of up to 50 jobs, Alpina will significantly contribute to the economic vitality of the region. I look forward to working with Alpina, the Genesee County Economic Development Center, and local farms as we work to strengthen Western New York’s economy.”

"The State Legislature, working with Governor Cuomo, has made tremendous strides in improving New York State's business climate,” said Senator Ranzenhofer. “Especially during the last two budget cycles, the decision to cut spending and lower taxes has signaled to many companies that New York is the right place to do business, and for many yogurt companies, such as Alpina, it has positioned Genesee County and Batavia as the 'Yogurt Capital' of the world. I applaud Alpina for opening its first U.S. facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park."

Drawn by access to the thriving agriculture and dairy industry of Upstate New York, along with a ready labor market, Alpina chose Batavia for its 10th global manufacturing facility, following locations in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. The company worked closely with the State’s Excelsior Jobs Program and numerous state and regional economic development organizations on the location of the 10-acre site, and was further attracted to the region after its work with nearby Cornell University and Rochester Institute of Technology.

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the production of Greek yogurt has become a critical job creator and driver of economic activity in New York State,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams.  “A number of major yogurt manufacturers have taken advantage of this region’s existing infrastructure, including the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, which is available for dairy processing, as well as its skilled workforce, proximity to milk supply and ability to reach target markets. We welcome Alpina Foods to the U.S. and are so proud that they have chosen to locate its first specialty yogurt plant in the U.S. right here in Genesee County.”

All Upstate New York residents are likely to appreciate Alpina Foods’ new location. The company is well known for its commitment to the communities in which it operates. With a philosophy that leadership refers to as “collective prosperity,” Alpina Foods wants to transfer success beyond the company, and positively impact the surrounding community, including their employees, business partners, the environment, and others in the region.

“We are committed to our success in Batavia and the U.S.,” said Alpina CEO Julian Jaramillo. “It is our corporate practice to grow with our surroundings, hand-in-hand with our neighbors.”

Photo, from left: Juan Pablo Fernandez, GM, Alpina Foods; Julian Jaramillo, CEO, Alpina; Roger Parkhurst, Director of Operations, Alpina Foods; Congresswoman Kathy Hochul; state Senator Michael Ranzenhofer; Kenneth Adams, President & CEO, Empire State Development.

August 14, 2012 - 1:47pm

Workers today are installing the first two silos at the new Alpina Products plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, Batavia.

The first silo is 40 feet tall and will hold up to 20,000 gallons of raw milk. The second silo is half the height and will hold 12,000 gallons of whey.

More silos can be added as the capacity of the Greek yogurt plant increases.

More pictures after the jump (click on the headline to continue):

July 4, 2012 - 12:08pm

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand spent some time in Western New York on Tuesday, including at least two stops in Batavia.

Gillibrand met with area Democratic leaders for lunch at Larry's Steakhouse and then toured the Alpina Products factory under construction at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

The facility, which will produce Greek yogurt and other dairy products, is nearing completion and should open in late August or September.

Gillibrand said seeing what is happening at the ag park -- which includes construction of a dairy production facility across the road from Alpina by PepsiCo and the Theo Muller Group -- is "really exciting."

"It's such an opportunity for agricultural growth in this region," Gillibrand said. "Not only is Greek yogurt production one of the fastest growing products in New York, but nationwide, and it's so well located with all of our dairies that are so close by. It makes business sense. Not only do we have a great workforce, but we have a great product, so it's going to be exciting to create these jobs, to have this industry grow in Western New York."

While there's been conflicting reports on whether New York dairies can produce enough milk to meet the demands of the new and existing Greek yogurt factories in the state, Gillibrand said she believes the dairies can meet the demand.

She said she has also introduced legislation to help New York's small dairies increase production without driving up their insurance costs.

Currently, if a small dairy wants to add a significant number of milk-producing cows, they're going to hit a cap on production imposed by insurance rules.

Gillibrand's legislation would remove the cap.

"That might give the ability of a small dairy to go up to 300 or 400 cows to meet the needs of their customers," Gillibrand said. "That would make a big difference for these projects."

Yogurt producers, Gillibrand said, don't want the expense of trucking in milk from other states to keep their production lines going and her legislation would keep the local milk flowing, she said, adding that there would be no regulatory burdens for small dairies to grow to meet local demand.

Steve Hyde, CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center, also introduced Gillibrand to the STAMP project -- the 1,300 acre high-tech/nano-tech park that has been in planning for five years.

The senator took quite an interest in the project. She noted that with New York's previous success in Luther Forest -- the nano-tech corridor developing between Buffalo and Albany -- the surrounding technology-oriented university system, and the investment already made in the project, STAMP has a good chance to attract major manufacturers.

It was a validation of how the community and region came together on the ag park to have Gillibrand in Batavia on Tuesday to tour the Alpina facility.

"It’s really kind of heartwarming because this ag park was really nine-and-a-half years in the making," Hyde said. "Once we found a way to get it all done, get it funded, get it built, having two very significant manufacturing projects land in our back yard – like we talked about today, talk about the multiplier effect, Alpina’s working with OA-T-KA, and Stueben Food and a company in Rochester on packaging -- it’s just really really awesome."

April 25, 2012 - 1:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Alpina Products.

Press release:

Artisan dairy manufacturer Alpina Foods has announced its yogurts will be available at Tops Friendly Markets, a leading grocery retailer in Upstate New York State and Northern Pennsylvania. The supermarket chain will carry Alpina Revive Greek Yogurt and Bon Yurt by Alpina at all Tops Friendly Market locations starting this month.

“We are excited to see our products on the shelves at Tops Friendly Markets,” said Alpina Foods General Manager Carlos Ramirez. “This relationship allows us to expand the availability of our yogurt as the demand for quality dairy products increases and the construction of our Batavia, New York dairy manufacturing plant nears completion.”

“Tops is proud to be the first grocery retailer in the area to carry Alpina Foods’ yogurts,” said Cathy Shifflett, Tops VP Center Store Sales and Marketing. “At Tops Friendly Markets, we’re committed to partnering with local brands such as Alpina Foods to bring quality products into communities throughout New York and Pennsylvania.”

Alpina Revive is an authentically strained, all-natural and non-fat Greek yogurt that packs an impressive 15 grams of protein in every cup. It contains simple ingredients such as milk and active yogurt cultures, is low in sugar and carbohydrates, and contains no artificial ingredients, sweeteners or flavors. Alpina Revive is paired with one-of-a-kind, chef-crafted granolas in four blends: antioxidant, superfoods, tropical, and Chai spices. 

Designed for the kid in all of us, Bon Yurt by Alpina is a creamy, traditional-style yogurt rich in protein and calcium but with a bit of fun in the mix. Paired with timeless cereal favorites like frosted flakes, cocoa rice, fruit rings and cookie bits, makes Bon Yurt by Alpina sure to please both parents and kids.

January 23, 2012 - 11:41pm

Top executives from Alpina Products were in Batavia on Monday touring the site of their future Greek yogurt plant in the Genesee Agri-Business Park, and they heard from Jim Billington, project manager, that construction is right on schedule.

A mild winter has certainly helped, Billington said.

"We've been pouring concrete every day, and according to some of the locals, that's quite unusual," Billington said. "We've been trying to take advantage of that."

CEO Julian Jaramillo (top photo, left) was all smiles during the tour and nodded enthusiastically when Managing Director Carlos Ramirez (top photo, right) said they consider it a good sign that Project Wave is under construction (The Batavian has previously reported Project Wave appears to be the work of PepsiCo).

"It says we made a good decision in coming here," Ramirez said.

He added that with the milk supply, the transportation, the labor pool and now the chance to be in a location with a complimentary business will only benefit Alpina and could lead other yogurt makers to come to the same conclusion.

"I think developing a yogurt cluster is a really good idea – the Silicon Valley of yogurt," Ramirez said.

With Jaramillo and Ramierz was Alpina' Colombia General Manager Ivan Lopez, who was seeing the location for the first time.

"It’s going to be great," Lopez said. "We have a huge operation in Colombia and when I see this, we can see the future in United States. I think we can do good things here, just like in Colombia."

The 40,000-square-foot plant should open in early spring and initially employ 50 people, with the first shipment of product going out in June.

Ramirez said Alpina remains excited about the opportunity to sell Greek yogurt in the United States.

"It’s one of the few categories where America is an emerging marketing," Ramirez said. "It's grown like crazy over the past three or four years and we think there is still room to grow."

For previous Alpina coverage, click here.

October 12, 2011 - 5:54pm

By this time next year, there will be a factory in Batavia turning out 4,000 tons of yogurt on an annual basis, employing 55 people and buying milk from local dairy farmers.

The first step toward that goal was taken today with a ceremonial groundbreaking by South America-based Alpina Products at the site of its planned 40,000-square-foot facility.

“Alpina’s decision to locate in Batavia is a success for the entire region,” said Town of Batavia Supervisor Greg Post.

Alpina started marketing yogurt products aimed at U.S. consumers in the Northeast several years ago. The Batavia plant will be its first U.S.-based manufacturing facility.

Managing Director Carlos Ramirez Zavarce said Alpina was built on European tradition and now embraces American pride in expansion in New York.

Batavia, he said, was part of a list of 50 potential sites for the plant when Alpina first started planning for growth, but quickly moved to the head of the class.

Besides a strong dairy tradition and an abundant supply of milk, as well as trained workers and easy access to a market area of 125 million potential consumers, local leaders demonstrated, he said, that they would be as committed to Alpina's success as the company's executives.

"We understood that you got the message that if we were successful, you would be successful," Ramirez said. "That was very important for us. We have no doubt we're going to have success here. This is the right location, the right place."

After the groundbreaking, attendees were invited to sample Alpina's yogurt products and there was a strong sense of excitement about this initial factory opening in the long-anticipated agri-business park.

“Today’s groundbreaking of Alpina Foods’ first manufacturing facility in the United States is proof that Batavia is a great place to do business,” said Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer. “Alpina’s $15 million investment and its decision to create 50 jobs sends a clear message that other private-sector companies should consider Genesee County for their next investment.”

GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde has said previously that there are other prospects for the business park in the pipeline, but until deals are signed, he is unable to provide public details.

VIDEO: Promotional video from Alpina.

Alpina CEO Julian Jaramillo

Alpina Managing Director Carlos Ramirez Zavarce

Roger Parkhurst, who will be director of operations at the new plant

Sen. Mike Ranzenhoffer and Assemblyman Steve Hawley

GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde

July 20, 2011 - 12:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Alpina Products.

It's not often that the CEO of a multinational corporation drops in on a Town of Batavia Planning Board meeting, but Alpina Product's Julian Jaramillo just happened to be in town today.

Jaramillo (above, left), lives in Colombia, but as he guides his company toward its first expansion into the United States, he needs to visit the area where he hopes to soon employ more than 50 people.

He said he is very excited about the opportunity for Alpina in Western New York.

"We've gotten great support," Jaramillo said. "This is a huge opportunity. It is our future and success in this country is important to the growth of our company."

Based in Bogata, Alpina is a food processing company that specializes in dairy products.

Early reports about Alpina's expansion focused on the opportunity for the company to market its products to the growing Hispanic population in the Northeast. But Jaramillo shook his head and said no when asked if that was the marketing plan for the company's new yogurt product.

Managing Director Carlos Ramirez Zavarce (above, right) jumped in and said the company's goals go far beyond a niche market.

"To be honest, we can leverage our brand to create cash flow by selling to Hispanics, but when we did our research three years ago, we found we could have the confidence to go mainstream," Ramirez said. "Instead of fighting for small pieces of the pie by creating a niche market, we're going after a mainstream market."

The company is planning to go big in the U.S., Ramirez explained through what he called an "insurgent" strategy.

Currently, two companies, Yoplait and Dannon, control 80 percent of the yogurt market. To compete, Alpina must offer a product that is different enough from the established brands to find new customers.

To that end, Alpina hired a New York-based chef with an expertise in health and wellness recipes to come up with new yogurt products for Alpina.

It is those new products that will be made and distributed from the Batavia plant.

"They're (Yoplait and Dannon) are great, they’re big and they're awesome, but it's (all the) same stuff, same models," Ramirez said. "If you look at a company like Chobani Greek Yogurt, they started three or five years ago and they do things differently. That’s what I mean by insurgent. Insurgent is just a way of thinking. Do things differently, not just from a marketing perspective, but from the products you launch."

If the strategy is successful, Alpina sees expanding beyond just New York, Toronto and the Tri-State market, and going into the South and then nationwide.

The expansion would mean adding additional refrigerated storage to the Batavia plant.

The plant as initially constructed is expected to be 40,000 sq. ft., expandable to 120,000 sq. ft.  

The site plan was presented to the Town of Batavia Planning Board on Tuesday evening and the plan was approved by a vote of 6-0.

Alpina hopes to complete its purchase of the 10-acre parcel in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park by Aug. 15 and break ground immediately.

The goal is to get the structure built before winter sets in and then take care of interior construction during the cold months. If all goes according to plan, the company can start gearing up for production in May with the first product shipments in June.

Ramirez said Alpina picked Batavia (over the other finalist, Scranton) because: there is easy access to both raw product and shipment of finished product; there is a local labor pool with expertise in dairy products; the great people the company worked with at GCEDC; generous tax abatements; the close proximity to Cornell University and RIT; the two million people between Rochester and Buffalo as well as being centrally located to the markets Alpina wants to target first.

There is a great market to pursue here, Ramirez told the board.

"You see companies trying to go national at some point, but there is a narrow market we can pursue here and just concentrate on here for a few years and become profitable."

For our previous coverage of Alpina, click here.

UPDATE: WBTA's Geoff Redick produced a video about Tuesday's meeting.

June 6, 2011 - 6:15pm

A South American-based dairy processing company will get $767,096 in tax incentives to help the company establish a new yogurt factory in Batavia, the Genesee County Economic Development Center announced.

The incentive package for Alpina Products includes a property tax abatement, a sales tax exemption and a reduction of mortgage taxes.

GCEDC announced in April that Alpina agreed to become the first tenant for the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park off Route 5 in Batavia.

The plant, when completed, is expected to add 50 jobs to the local economy and if successful, Alpina officials said they would expect to expand their operations in Batavia.

More than half of the tax incentive package comes in the form of a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) arrangement that will reduce the amount of anticipated property taxes paid by Alpina by more than $458,000 over 10 years.

Alpina will pay property taxes on the current assessed value of its 10-acre facility, but because building the plant will increase the land's value, Alpina will get a break on that increased assessment for 10 years. During the first five years, Alpina will pay no taxes on the difference between the current assessed value and the new assessed value. Starting in year six through year 10, Alpina will pay 50 percent of the increase in additional taxes, and pay 100 percent from that point forward.

The sales tax exemption of $260,000 will be on construction materials and office equipment, but not manufacturing equipment.

The mortgage tax exemption is $48,750.

The anticipated economic benefit to Genesee County is expected to exceed $30 million over 10 years.

Alpina will invest $15 million to purchase the 10-acre parcel and construct the plant.

In other GCEDC news, Wellsville Carpet Town at 3990 Call Parkway, Batavia, will receive a $14,375 mortgage tax exemption to help the company refinance its current $1.5 million real estate loan. GCEDC says the abatement will help retain 45 jobs in the county.

April 11, 2011 - 6:48pm

There are four to five more companies that are in either early stage or mid-stage study of the Gensee Valley Agri-Business Park, and Columbia-based Alpina Products decision to set up shop in Batavia is going to help the cause, said Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

"Any time you get your frist tenant in one of these shovel ready sites, it really helps create momentum, much like the rising tide lifts all sail boats," said Hyde. "So, this is something we're most excited about."

The financial details are not available for public release yet because Alpina is still completing paperwork and then the application for tax abatements and grants most be approved the by GCEDC board.  The package is expected to be presented at the board's May meeting.

The deal is contingent on approval of a set of incentives as well as some 900-feet of new roadway being completed to the 10-acre lot Alpina intends to buy.

The purchase price is $50,000 per acre, Hyde said.

"That's the sweet spot," said Hyde. "You spend that much between buying the land and putting in the infrastructure. It really is a cost recovery model."

In a meeting with the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, Hyde mentioned that a mid-level Department of Transportation staff member was holding up a grant for a rail line into the agri-business park, and Hyde said he is hopeful this announcement will help unfreeze those funds.

Some of the businesses might want to locate in the park need rail and won't consider the park "shovel ready" without a rail line in place.

Even though Alpina won't need rail in its early years in the park, Hyde is hopeful Aplina's signing will shift the conversation about the grant.

"Hopefully, it will enable a different conversation," Hyde said. "I'm hopeful it will show this site is real."

Hyde said the GCEDC had four meetings with either staff of Alpina or the company's site selection consultant and the final meeting occurred with the company's entire board of directors, who all flew from Columbia to Batavia to visit the area and hear why this was the right site for them.

The full court press included a meeting attended not just by GCEDC staff, but staff from Buffalo-Niagara Enterprise, Greater Rochester Enterprise, Cornell, RIT and Town of Batavia. Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy was on a speaker phone for key parts of the presentation and really tried to sell the executives on what a great area Western New York is, Hyde said.

GCEDC officials then gave the executives a tour of the county, showing off its amenities and areas of growth and revitalization, and then showed off some of the amenities of the region.  The tour concluded with a dinner at the Wine and Culinary Institute in Canandaigua.

Chefs there made a cheese cake in front of the dignitaries using an Alpina product for the topping.

But in the end, Hyde said, it's all really about the jobs.

"We're delighted that this came through because more than anything, it's going to create 50 jobs for 50 families," Hyde said. "And you know what, in this time, in this economy, every job our business community creates helps."

April 8, 2011 - 12:11pm

GCEDC has landed its first business for the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia. It is a Bogata, Colombia-based dairy product company that will use the plant to expand its yogurt business into the United States.

According to South American news reportsAlpina Productos Alimenticios will invest $15 million in the project and will initially hire 50 people at the plant.

Established by two Swiss entrepreneurs in 1945, Alpina runs nine industrial facilities across Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador, and has commercial presence in more than 12 countries. 

The product line, which generates about $740 million in annual revenue, includes beverages, milk, baby food, desserts, cheeses, cream and butter, and fitness food products.

"The Alpina brand is a symbol of pride not only to Colombians but to the entire Andean region," Alpina President and CEO Julian Jaramillo (pictured) told La Republica. "We hope to build a new frontier for growth in the U.S. market, based on the properties of innovation, quality, nutrition and sustainability associated with our products and our presence in places where we already operate."

But it's not a 100-percent done deal, according to Genesee County Economic Development Center CEO Steve Hyde.  

The company intends to purchase a 10-acre parcel with a phase I construction plan for a 28,000-square-foot yogurt manufacturing facility.

The company picked one of the newest parcels in the park, so there is still a little bit of work to be done to get it completely shovel ready, including extending one of the roadways.

The purchase is contingent on that work being completed on schedule, and if it is, Hyde said, construction on the plant should begin in August.

The 10-acre parcel will give the company room for expansion.

"They've got a real footprint for future growth," Hyde said.

According to the La Republica article, Alpina has achieved growth rates in Venezuela and Ecuador of 15 and 20 percent and his hoping for the same level of success in the U.S.

Jaramillo believes per capita consumption of yogurt in the U.S. is low, which he sees as an opportunity to capture new consumers.

Hyde said the company, which he described as really family oriented, has done a lot of market research and has determined the northeastern part of the U.S. has a fast-growing Hispanic population, so they were looking at five sites in New York and three in Pennsylvania.

Batavia having a nearly shovel ready park combined with the region's high number of quality dairy farms were attractive to Alpina.

"It kind of proves the thesis that you've got to have that shovel ready site that clusters industries or companies won't even come," Hyde said. "They won't take the risk. They've got to be able to build and go."

The project is part of a $50 million plan by Alpina to expand its business.

“We’ve been waiting for exactly the right moment to make a major push into the U.S. market, and today we found the right location to achieve our strategic goals,” said Alpina Foods, LLC, Managing Director Carlos Ramirez Zavarce.  

Below is a video the company produced for YouTube that has received more than 500,000 views.

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