Synergy Food Group celebrated the opening of its newest facility Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held in conjunction with the Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce.
The company will package meals to be delivered to clients.
“We’re building shelf-stable meal kits, primarily for school systems and independent living services, nursing homes, things like that,” explained Craig Dean, Synergy’s operations manager for the new location. “We’re doing all shelf-stable products at the moment, but we’re eventually going to build out a freezer and kitchen cooking area where we can do frozen meals as well.
Community leaders and visitors from the chamber toured the plant, which is already operating, and observed the production along the assembly line, which Dean described in detail.
“The first person will be building the box, putting the box together, making sure the bottom is structurally sound, and labeling the box,” Dean said. “Then it’ll be passed down to the next person, who is going to put in however much protein we have; the following person will put in the number of juices or milks for that box, whatever we’re running at the time; then we’ll have snacks. Most meals have crackers, so they’ll be putting a certain number of crackers to go with the proteins, and then the last person will run it through the tape machine and palletize it.”
Once the designated number of orders have been properly packaged, workers “put them on the pallets and ship them out,” Dean said.
Shane Lee, Synergy’s director of sales, said he would be at the Columbia plant “a couple weeks a month while we get everything going.”
Lee said the company goes the extra mile to provide the best value for services and to provide diverse options.
“We have rotating menus, too, so a lot of times — especially with the senior boxes — the same senior will receive a different box every week,” Lee said. “We’ll build a different menu each week so it’s not repetitive over and over again. There’s been supply chain issues in getting this type of product, of course, but we try to make it as diverse as possible, and also tailor it for the specific diet. A senior is going to eat different than a kid, for instance.”
Synergy’s new plant is located at 100 Majestic Way on the corner intersection of Veterans Memorial Bypass and Kentucky 61 in the former Majestic Yachts building. There are currently 12 employees, with plans in place to expand sooner rather than later.
“We’ll have at least 50 in the first two years,” Dean said, “hopefully even sooner, but that’s the initial plan.”