Thursday, September 10, 2020

Reflecting on 50 years of making pizza, while looking to the future

Sept. 10, 2020 — If you know one thing about Schwan’s Company, it is that we love our pizza! This year marked two major milestones for our pizza business: celebrating our past and investing in our future growth.

This April marked five decades of Schwan’s Company making pizza at our manufacturing facility in Salina, Kansas. And this August, company leaders visited Salina to deliver an exciting announcement about plans to build a new 400,000-square-foot expansion at the pizza facility.

“For 50 years, we have made steady investments in growing our operations in Salina, and our facility eventually became what we believe is the largest pizza production facility in the world,” said CEO Dimitrios Smyrnios. “This new investment in Salina will help ensure that we can achieve our growth plans and continue to provide delicious pizzas to millions of families for decades to come.”

The announcement was made at a special event, where company leaders were joined by government and civic officials at the Tony’s Pizza and Events Center to share details of the expansion and thank the Salina and greater Kansas community.

For employees in Salina, they celebrated the expansion and the company’s 50th anniversary with a meal, gourmet cupcakes and memorabilia items, including T-shirts, koozies, sunglasses and umbrellas. The event occurred while adhering to social-distancing and other safety guidelines.

Our company first began operating a pizza plant in Salina in April 1970, when it acquired the Tony’s® pizza brand and plant from a Salina businessman. Employees at the facility continue to produce Tony’s® and Red Baron® pizza for grocery stores nationwide, as well as pizzas for food-service venues such as schools.

During Schwan’s Company’s ownership of the plant, the facility has grown from just 18,000 square feet to one of the largest pizza plants in the world with more than 550,000 square feet, including a distribution center that was added in 2006. The facility has seen more than 80 additions over the past five decades.

In the next two years with the recently announced 400,000- square-foot expansion, our pizza facility will add up to 225 new, full-time jobs by 2023. The expansion also includes adding state-of-the-art production lines and equipment, capable of making more than 100 million pizzas per year. The facility will also include investments in technology and protocols designed to minimize risks during pandemic situations such as COVID-19, following CDC guidelines and applying key learnings from the on-going global crisis.

While 50 years in the pizza business is a remarkable milestone, our focus is on tomorrow, and we cannot help but to be excited for our future. Work is underway now on the new, state-of-art expansion and we look forward to reporting back and celebrating our achievements in the pizza business and Salina community.

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