Snack food maker to open production in long-overlooked Louisville area, Beshear says

Published 11:14 am Wednesday, October 18, 2023

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A snack food manufacturer intends to pump $137 million into a production facility in Kentucky, amounting to the largest economic development project in decades in an area of Louisville that was long overlooked for major investments, Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday.

Pretzel manufacturer Stellar Snacks will create 350 full-time jobs during the next 10 years at its new facility in western Louisville, the governor said. The company selected an existing 434,000-square-foot (40,000-square-meter) building, and baking operations are expected to begin there in September of next year.

It represents the single largest economic development project in the western Louisville community in the past 20 years, the governor’s office said in a statement.

“For far too long, we know that the people of West Louisville have been overlooked when it comes to big investments like this,” Beshear said at a ceremony announcing the project. “Today we are changing that. From the start of my administration, we’ve been determined to get big things done right here.”

The project is contingent on final approval of state incentives by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, the governor’s office said.

Hiring for the company’s Kentucky facility is expected to begin next March.

The company, founded in 2019 by mother-daughter duo Elisabeth and Gina Galvin, bakes pretzels and roasts nuts. It operates two plants in Northern Nevada, where it employs more than 170 people. The company is “on a mission to expand production coast to coast,” Elisabeth Galvin said.

“We can’t emphasize enough that our goal is to provide career opportunities and positive impact in Louisville, especially in our neighborhood so we can flourish together in the years to come,” she said.

Gina Galvin added: “When my mom and I landed in Louisville, something finally clicked — it felt like destiny.”

Stellar Snacks distributes products to more than 5,000 grocery and retail stores nationwide with products also sold online.

Beshear, a Democrat who is seeking reelection to a second term in the Nov. 7 election, said the project continues the Bluegrass State’s “best economic development winning streak in our lifetime.” The governor was joined by community leaders at the Louisville jobs announcement.

Beshear has made the state’s record-setting pace of economic development during his term a cornerstone of his campaign against Republican challenger Daniel Cameron, the state’s attorney general.

“We talked about how these jobs needed to come everywhere — every part of our state and every neighborhood in this city,” Beshear said at Tuesday’s event in Louisville. “I’m glad that today we’re making good on that promise, but there should and there will be so much more to come.”

Cameron has said the credit for the state’s economic growth should go to the Republican-led Legislature for passing pro-business measures. Cameron also has taken aim at national economic trends, blasting Democratic President Joe Biden’s policies for triggering high inflation. Cameron is trying to link the Democratic governor with Biden in the minds of voters in Republican-leaning Kentucky.