Thursday, April 19, 2018
Business

Fresco Foods to open $1.5 million commercial kitchen and production facility in Hillsborough

Fresco Foods Inc., a Tampa company that makes and sells healthy prepared meals, will open a new commercial kitchen and food service production facility in eastern Hillsborough County next year.

The facility will create up to 50 jobs in operations, customer service and food production. Fresco Foods will invest $1.5 million for the construction of the 12,000-square-foot facility, which will open in January.

Fresco Foods operates Eat Fresco, a brand of prepared meals that are sold in Winn-Dixie stores, Duckweed Urban Market locations in Tampa, Earth Fare in Seminole, Rollin' Oats in St. Petersburg and Nutrition Smart stores. The company specializes in offering locally sourced, healthy meal options in on-the-go packaging.

"Since our launch in February 2015, Eat Fresco has experienced tremendous demand in Florida," said Robert Povolny, president of Fresco Foods, in a statement. "Working with (real estate company) CBRE and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, we found an ideal location for a large-scale production kitchen in Hillsborough County with access to the major interstates. The EDC also provided us with valuable support for our expansion, helping us to expedite our plans for growth."

The commercial space is at 9410 E Broadway Ave. The new facility will allow Fresco Foods to continue to grow its business throughout Florida and develop new partnerships with larger retailers, according to a news release.

Fresco Foods raised $2 million in growth capital through debt financing and equity investment. The company received a small business loan in October. Fresco also partnered with Westshore Holdings-FFI, a newly formed private equity firm that offers funding to startups, for additional capital.

"Fresco Foods' impressive success in its first year in business is a point of pride for us, demonstrating the quality and diversity of entrepreneurs we have in Tampa and Hillsborough County," said Ken Atwater, chair of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and president of Hillsborough Community College, in a statement. "The EDC is committed to helping Fresco Foods succeed with their current expansion plans and looks forward to assisting them with future growth initiatives down the road."

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