On Friday June 21, representatives from Open Range Beef signed documents for the purchase of the closed packing house in Gordon.
The previous owners, Shalom Rubashkin of the Local Pride Kosher packing plant, closed its doors on September 14, 2008.
The City of Gordon and the First Bank Business Capital, Inc. of Saint Louis, Missouri, took ownership of the real estate and personal property at a trustee sale, October 7, 2009, held at the Sheridan County courthouse in Rushville.
Fred Hlava, City Manager, stated that there has been numerous individuals and groups interested in purchasing the plant. However, they found it difficult with the problems associated in the banking industry over the last three years to secure the three to four million dollars in financing needed for renovations and operation of the plant.
With cattle and agriculture being the two top leaders in revenue generation for the state of Nebraska it’s important that we try to maximize the opportunities that present themselves for generating property tax base, employment and economic growth.
We feel very fortunate that the Open Range Beef investment group has individuals with the financial depth and with over 60 years of combined experience in beef processing and related successful businesses.
The beef processing industry is a very volatile commodity market in which to operate and having people with the vast experience and skill sets that the Open Range group brings to this project will give them a great opportunity for a successful venture and economic stability for our community.
This plant will be strictly a beef processing operation and will not operate a rendering plant in Gordon.
Roy Wiggs will oversee customer development, public relations and government communications. When asked to describe the difference between this management group and previous owners, Wiggs stated, that “Packing houses are all made from brick and mortar … it’s people that make the difference. Our investment group is very solid and we have an established customer base that is an intricate part of our business model.”
Wiggs also stated that they will be bringing in a plant manager shortly who will be handling the day-to-day operations.
When asked about the number of employees that the plant will hire, Wiggs stated, “We will have six to eight experienced butchers that are highly experienced and cross-trained in all phases of beef processing. That leaves approximately 60-70 positions to fill from the Gordon community renowned for their strong work ethic. While it seems simple, it is bound to be hard work, but with the strength of the local work force and continued support of the city we anticipate slaughtering and fabricating cattle here for a very long time. We are all happy to be here and look forward to becoming part of the community.”
We would encourage anyone interested in employment to stop by the plant at 120 West Highway 20 and pick up an application.