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New Yorkers consider New London

10 may relocate to work at GLK plant

By Scott Bellile

Ten employees at New York’s shuttering GLK Foods plant have considered moving to Wisconsin to continue their jobs in Bear Creek.

New London Mayor Gary Henke and City Administrator Kent Hager visited the prospective residents at GLK Foods in Bear Creek on March 23 to, as Hager put it, give them “a hard sell” on New London.

“They asked about availability of apartments because obviously if you’re moving from upstate New York to mid-state Wisconsin, you may not want to buy a home right away,” Henke told the New London Economic Development Committee on March 27. “You may want to live somewhere and see what the community’s like and so forth. And obviously we’ve got a lot of apartments available.”

Jacci Carlson, director of human resources for GLK Foods, told the Press Star the sauerkraut company invited New London city officials to present to 15 New Yorkers – 10 employees and five spouses – because New London is similar in size to the western New York communities where the workers live.

New York’s GLK plant is located in Shortsville, a village of 1,400 residents. But Shortsville is located within 10 miles of three communities slightly larger than New London: Canandaigua, Farmington and Victor. Their populations range from 10,000 to 15,000 people.

During the workers’ visit, they looked at the School District of New London.

They also got glimpses of Hortonville, Greenville and Appleton, Carlson said.

“I think they were very impressed [by] how many different communities roll right into each other especially when you’re looking at the Fox Valley,” Carlson said. “Bear Creek is in the country and they were happy with how close New London was to Bear Creek and also Clintonville, how close they were. But also the Valley is very close. It’s only 35 minutes away. So they were impressed with the full opportunity of the area communities they could choose from.”

The 10 employees’ fields include management, quality assurance and production, Carlson said.

They departed New York for Wisconsin by bus March 22 and returned home March 24.

“I’m just very impressed [with] their dedication to GLK Foods and that they do want to continue to be employed with us and that makes us very happy as a company,” Carlson said. “I think that’s wonderful for them to take many hours – 13 hours one way here, 13 hours back – just to be able to visit our plant in Wisconsin.”

Headquartered in Appleton, GLK Foods announced in February it will close the Shortsville factory this year and consolidate operations in Bear Creek.

Production will cease in September while shipping and receiving activities will last through November.

The Shortsville plant employs 48 people and is GLK Foods’ only other production facility.

The Bear Creek facility, which currently employs 120 people, will undergo a $15 million expansion and add jobs.

“We of course made a few comments about we have room in our industrial park if [GLK Foods happens] to run out of room in Bear Creek and would like an auxiliary plant,” Henke said with a laugh. “You always got to get that in there. But they’re really expanding.”

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