New Owner of Gretchen’s Shoebox Brings 400 Jobs to Des Moines

Thursday, December 10th 2015

SEATTLE, WA – An international convenience foods company is setting up production facilities in Des Moines.

Ireland-based Greencore Group, which is traded on the London Stock Exchange, has inked a lease in the Des Moines Creek Business Park from which to run its new research and development facility. Greencore hopes to open the facility in early 2016.

Greencore entered the U.S. market in 2008 with its U.S. headquarters in Danvers, Massachusetts, and the company came to the Puget Sound market a year ago when it acquired the Gretchen’s Shoebox division of Bellevue-based Schwartz Brothers Restaurants. The acquisition price was not available.

Greencore’s Des Moines facility, which Panattoni Development Co. is building on Port of Seattle land south of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, will measure 75,000 square feet, according to Donnie Belk of Panattoni. That’s more than twice the size of the current facility in Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood. Schwartz Brothers President Lindsey Schwartz said the Sodo plant is 33,000 square feet.

Greencore manufactures fresh and frozen food-to-go products, which are mostly sold through coffee shops, grocery stores and convenience chains under private label brands. Locally, customers include QFC, Fred Meyer, Starbucks and Trader Joe’s, said Richard McGowan, Greencore’s project manager. Nationally, Greencore operates six manufacturing facilities and delivers to more than 25 states.

“This site will be unique for us because it will also house an innovation center where we’ll conduct most of the research and development work for the U.S. market,” McGowan said.

The new center in Des Moines will have 350 employees, who will move from Sodo. Greencore will add 50 new jobs when it moves to Des Moines.

The Economic Development Council of Seattle & King County, the city of Des Moines, the port and King County worked together to recruit Greencore to the region.

“The EDC’s work pulling together all the important facts and figures and connecting us to city leaders and the Port of Seattle was critical in our site search. The EDC team has been an outstanding resource for us,” said McGowan.

Des Moines Mayor Dave Kaplan called landing the international company and the jobs a big win.

“A recruitment win like Greencore really demonstrates that our hard work and planning is paying off,” he said.