The largest retailer in the country will host a grand opening Wednesday in Fort Wayne for its first milk processing plant in North America. The 250,000 square-foot Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) facility, the company says, has already created more than 300 jobs. Plans for the plant were unveiled two years ago following an increased emphasis by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture on boosting the Hoosier dairy industry.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Walmart spokesperson Molly Blakeman said the state’s strategy aligns with the company’s direction. "We’re really excited about the work that we’re doing there and see it as helping us grow for a long time to come," she said. "We’re also working with farmers there in the state. Around 30 farms will help supply the milk to our milk processing facility and we know that they’re really the future of our success of this plant." Blakeman adds the average milk delivery will come from within 130 miles of the Allen County plant.
Bottling, Blakeman says, will begin in the summer and once the facility is fully-operational, it will be one of the largest fluid milk processing plants in the country, supplying some 500 stores in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky. The retail giant considered sites in other states, but in a March 2016 interview with Inside INdiana Business, Public Relations Director Kevin Thompson said Walmart’s experience with state and local economic development officials was comforting to company leaders.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Walmart spokesperson Molly Blakeman said the state’s strategy aligns with the company’s direction.