Food Processing Company Creates 440 New Jobs and Invests $85M to Expand to North Carolina

October 18, 2022

SO-PAK-CO, Inc., a food processor and packager, will create 440 new jobs in Scotland County, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest $85 million to build a state-of-the-art processing and packaging facility in the City of Laurinburg.

“This announcement is great news for Scotland County and our state,” said Governor Cooper. “With our manufacturing legacy, diverse workforce, and transportation infrastructure, SO-PAK-CO can confidently expand their operations here to serve even more nutritious meals to our men and women in uniform.”

SO-PAK-CO, Inc. is a world leader in the design, processing, and packaging of shelf-stable, ready-to-eat meals and is one of the largest suppliers of combat rations to the U.S. military. With more than 50 years in the food-processing industry, SO-PAK-CO offers turnkey food processing solutions to not only federal, state, and local agencies, but also to a growing number of commercial retail customers. SO-PAK-CO’s new state-of-the-art facility in Scotland County will increase its manufacturing capacity and is key to the company’s long-term growth, while also creating new jobs in the Laurinburg area and maintaining existing jobs in South Carolina.

“We are so pleased to be working with Governor Cooper and the State of North Carolina to establish this new world-class facility,” said Lonnie F. Thompson, President of SO-PAK-CO. “With the new Laurinburg facility, in addition to our South Carolina campuses, we will be better able to serve our existing customers while also expanding our capacity to position ourselves for growth. SO-PAK-CO is appreciative of the support we have already received from state and local partners, and look forward to making a positive impact on these economies through this project.”

“I’m excited to welcome SO-PAK-CO to North Carolina as the largest economic development announcement by job count for Scotland County in the last two decades,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “When companies commit to expanding in our state, North Carolina also commits to providing the skilled talent to support their growth and our First in Talent plan helps lay the framework for that commitment.”

 The North Carolina Department of Commerce led the state’s efforts to support SO-PAK-CO’s expansion to North Carolina. New positions including craftsman, managers, operators, and administrative personnel. Salaries for the new positions will vary, with an average annual salary of more than $45,000. The average annual wage in Scotland County is $40,894. The project could create a potential annual payroll impact of more than $19.8 million per year for the region.

SO-PAK-CO’s project will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $1.5 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $4,611,000 spread over 12 years. State payments only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.

“These 440 jobs, and SO-PAK-CO, are great additions to Scotland County,” said N.C. Senator Tom McInnis. “I’m especially grateful for the economic developers and both local and state officials that have worked diligently to recruit this company to North Carolina.”

“SO-PAK-CO has a longstanding reputation for building strong relationships,” said N.C. Representative Garland Pierce. “We are eager to partner with them as they build and invest in our community for years to come.”

In addition to the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Department of Transportation, North Carolina Department of Agriculture, North Carolina Community College System, GoldenLEAF Foundation, North Carolina’s Southeast, Scotland County Economic Development Corporation, Scotland County, City of Laurinburg and Electricities.