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200 New Jobs: Bel Brands Builds In Brookings

January 31, 2012, 5:54 PM by Don Jorgensen

200 New Jobs: Bel Brands Builds In Brookings
BROOKINGS, SD - Hundreds of new jobs are coming to South Dakota. Bel Brands, based out of Chicago, announced plans to build a 170,000 square foot cheese plant in Brookings.

It also considered Iowa, Idaho and Michigan for its third U.S. plant. In fact, when Bel started looking for a place to expand its business over a year ago, Brookings wasn't an option.  But after lots of negotiations with the governor's office and Brookings city officials, Bel Brands saw something it liked.

If you're not familiar with Bel Brands Mini Babybel Cheese products, you soon will be.

Bel Brands will be manufacturing them at its new plant to be built on a 46 acre site across the interstate near South Dakota State University.

It's one of the things that caught the eye of company officials. 

"The close proximity to SDSU, I think it's world class.  Its dairy facility and research.  We look to partner with SDSU moving forward," Chief Executive Officer Lance Chambers said.

Bel plans to break ground this summer on the plant and plans to hire 200 employees in its first year and another 200 workers over the next four years.

"Bel Brands fits perfectly into our economic growth, plans for good paying jobs, diversifying our economic base and producing regional economic benefits," Brookings Mayor Tim Reed said.

The city estimates Bel will have a $163 million a year economic impact just to Brookings alone. But the governor says Tuesday's announcement goes beyond adding jobs and dollars to the local economy.

"It tells the world that South Dakota is open for business and we can compete with anyone on the globe and that's no bull," Governor Dennis Daugaard said. 

Bel Brands also has plants in Kentucky and Wisconsin.

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