Biotech company to renovate, hire for Leland plant


A biotechnologies company that in 2011 selected Leland Industrial Park for a manufacturing site will begin renovations there next month and set the stage for more than 50 new hires.

CMS Food Solutions Inc., which produces a “revolutionary” anti-bacterial wash for fruits and vegetables, planned to invest $4.4 million in the Leland facility and create jobs with an average annual wage of about $43,000, according to state and county commerce officials.

Brunswick County’s average annual wage is $30,160, according to the Brunswick County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

Jim Bradshaw, EDC’s executive director, said Friday that CMS began initial renovations last year but paused in order to focus on contract development. The company will resume the preparation of its Leland facility in February with a goal of completion later this year.

The company is headquartered in Danbury, Conn., and lists a second manufacturing facility in Houston, Texas.

The governor’s office in Raleigh announced first news of the recruit in November 2011, noting the assistance of a $32,500 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.

The fund, under the N.C. Department of Commerce and composed of appropriations from the N.C. General Assembly, serves to recruit and grow jobs in “high value-added, knowledge-driven industries,” its website says.

The grant did not involve up-front cash, former governor Bev Perdue noted at the time. Recipient companies have to meet job creation and investment performance standards.

Bradshaw said he invested roughly six months in the recruitment of CMS, which had considered sites in several different states for the manufacturing facility but chose Leland Industrial Park for the area’s quality of life, access to major highways and a reliable workforce.

The 2,200-acre Leland Industrial Park, which includes CSX rail access, is off U.S. 74/76 eight miles west of Wilmington.

Brunswick Community College will help to train the company’s employees, according to EDC.

CMS’s main product, an antimicrobial produce spray called G-99, “is the most advanced product available for the control of food-borne bacteria,” CMS Chairman Jim Burns said in a press release.