Additional reporting by Sam Gazdziak
Williams Sausage, a second-generation processor of sausages in Union City, Tenn., announced earlier this year that it would break ground on a new, state-of-the-art facility in its hometown. The $37 million investment of the new plant will result in 226 new jobs, a new 180,000-square-foot-facility, a $3 million investment to its existing facility and a new sandwich line.
Roger Williams, president, said that the company’s steady growth has caused the company to nearly max out capacity at its current plant.
“Breakfast sandwiches have been a big growth area for us. We’re doing about 60 million sandwiches a year now,” he says, adding that the capital investments will double its sandwich-making capacity.
Williams says that the new plant will be located about 8 miles from its current location. The original plan was to expand its current facility, as it has done several times before, but the company decided to look for a new location that would be located closer to the interstate for ease of distribution.
Williams Sausage was started by Harold and Hazel Williams in 1958. Their sons, Roger and Doug, oversee the company today, and the third generation of the family is involved with the business as well. The company was able to stay in Tennessee by working with state and local officials.
“Generation after generation, Tennessee has made some of the best-known and most-respected food brands in the world,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. “Williams Sausage Company is part of this strong legacy, and I’m pleased it has decided to build a second plant in Union City. This major expansion by Williams Sausage will create hundreds of new jobs for Obion County residents and brings us closer to our goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
After searching in neighboring states, Williams Sausage found its new home in a Union City industrial park that is in development.
“When it came down to trying to narrow the selection down, the state of Tennessee and Obion County came through and offered us some really good incentives to keep the plant here,” Williams says.
The new facility will become the home of its sandwich-making operations, as well as corporate offices and frozen and refrigerated space. When that facility comes online in 2018, the company’s current facility will get a facelift.
“Once we move the sandwich processing out of the way, it will free up some space in our current facility, and we’re going to produce more raw sausage products such as chubs and patties, to hopefully grow our business more,” Williams says, adding that the company will also expand its slaughter capacity from 500 sows a day to 750.
Williams Sausage is well-known for its private-label and branded sausage products and breakfast sandwiches. The company’s branded products are distributed in a 500-mile radius of its home. Williams hopes that with the expansion, the company will have the production capacity to increase its reach even further.