Brownsville’s Rich Products begins phase two of $177M expansion

Rich Products, a food manufacturing and distribution facility at 3555 E. 14th St. in Brownsville, has begun phase two of a $117 million expansion. (Steve Clark | The Brownsville Herald)
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Rich Products announced this month that phase two of its $117 million, 150,000-square-foot expansion in Brownsville is underway, ultimately resulting in the creation of more than 130 new jobs.

Headquartered in Buffalo, New York, the global, family-owned food manufacturing and distribution company announced the proposed expansion of its manufacturing and warehouse capacity in Brownsville in February 2023. Rich Products, founded in 1945 and also known as Rich’s, opened its current Brownsville facility, 3555 E. 14th St., in 1993, occupying 120,000 square feet prior to the current expansion.

The enhanced facility will cover 159,000 square feet and feature more production, freezer, dry storage, office and ancillary space, the city said last year, calling the expansion the biggest capital investment project within city limits in recent history.

Rich Products said the project is its “largest capital campaign to date.” The Brownsville facility makes frozen seafood and appetizer products and is considered the founder of the non-dairy frozen food industry. Last year the company employed more 400 people in Brownsville and 12,500 worldwide, with annual sales of more than $5.8 billion.

The company said it is partnering with National New Markets Fund (NNMF), an affiliate of Los Angeles-based SDS Capital Group that has invested $17.5 million in its New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation for the Brownsville expansion. NNMF uses capital from the NMTC, which is administered by the Department of the Treasury.

NNMF and other investment groups compete each year for NMTC awards. Those selected by the Treasury sell the tax credits to institutional investors and use the proceeds to invest in projects that help low-income communities, such as the Rich Products expansion. NNMF’s focus is on the Great Lakes and Deep South regions.

Kevin Spratt, president of Rich Products’ U.S. and Canada region, said the company is seeing a huge jump in customer demand for its growing seafood and appetizer business, and that “adding capacity is key for continued growth.”

“As a proud member of the Brownsville community for over 60 years, we’re fully committed to strengthening our local impact with the right combination of associates, products and infrastructure,” he said. “We’re grateful to NNMF for being a key supporting player in this project and are excited about the opportunities this will create for our business, the local community and the valued customers we serve every day.”

Breaded cheese sticks are inspected by Rich Products Corporation employees along a food conveyor Monday afternoon, Feb. 13, 2023, in Brownsville. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

To address the limited supply of skilled labor locally, Rich Products said it will offer discounted computer literacy courses and other workforce training in partnership with Texas Southmost College.

NNMF Chief Executive Officer Deborah La Franchi said the Rich Products expansion will lead to noteworthy economic benefits for the community.

“This is a company that is committed to its associates,” she said. “Not only is it creating more than 130 jobs, but it’s offering quality wages and benefits in a community grappling with a 35.7 percent poverty rate.”

Rich Products is hiring for its Brownsville facility. For more information visit