County backs $675K grant application from state for Freeze-Dry in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 January 2023 at 9:09 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Thrive Foods is looking to make a $3 million upgrade at the Freeze-Dry facility on Route 31 in Albion.

Company looks to invest $3 million in Albion, add 45 jobs

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature is supporting an application for a $675,000 grant to assist with a $3 million expansion at Freeze-Dry in Albion, a company that was recently acquired by Thrive Foods.

Thrive is looking to invest in new dryers, machinery and other equipment, as part of a plan to expand operations at 111 West Ave., and add 45 employees as part of the first phase of growing in Albion, said Gabrielle Barone, vice president of the Orleans Economic Development Agency.

“This is concerning a wonderful project that I think will make everybody very, very happy,” Barone said during a public hearing on Tuesday about the application.

The county will apply for the grant funding from the state Office of Community Renewal. The Orleans Land Restoration Corporation, which is under the EDA umbrella, will assist the county with the application.

Barone said she is hopeful for a quick turnaround from the state, perhaps in three to four months on whether the funding is approved.

Thrive Foods in early September announced it acquired Freeze-Dry, which operated for the past 20 years in Albion at the former Lipton’s plant. Freeze-Dry Foods specializes in freeze-dried products, including pet treats, proteins and ingredients. The products have a shelf life of up to 25 years because Freeze-Dry eliminates moisture and oxygen, while preserving nutrients, flavor, taste, color and aroma.

Thrive Foods recently expanded into a new facility in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Now the company wants to upgrade the Albion facility.

“Hopefully there will be a need for additional phases to follow,” Barone said at the public hearing.