AKRON, Ohio, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Dean Foods Company
(NYSE: DF) announced today that it plans to invest $1 million to build a new
distribution facility by the Fall of 2007 and to cease operations by Feb. 8,
2007, at its plant located at 1055 Wooster Road N., Barberton, Ohio, due to
excess capacity in the region.
New Distribution Center
The new distribution facility will be state of the art and will employ
approximately 45 drivers and 8 to 15 warehouse positions. In addition,
Reiter’s existing sales staff will remain in place. “We will stay an integral
part of the community,” said John Gillam, Group Vice President. “We have been
part of this area for over 70 years and we don’t plan to leave any time soon.”
The Reiter Brand
Reiter has been part of the local community since 1933. Ralph Reiter
founded Reiter Dairy on Sumner St. in Akron when milk sold for eight cents a
quart in glass bottles.
Since then, Reiter Dairy has grown to be the leading milk brand in Ohio,
and Dean Foods remains committed to maintaining Reiter’s standing as Akron’s
Reiter’s innovations are many including the Flavor Tight bottle, which
keeps light out and protects the milk’s nutrients and fresh flavor.
The Reiter brand remains a solid asset to Dean Foods, and one that the
Company plans to continue to grow with ongoing advertising, promotions and
partnerships with local retailers.
The Reiter/Akron Plant Closing
Reiter-Akron is centrally located between three other sister plants in
Springfield, Ohio; Erie, Pa; and Sharpsville, Pa. The Akron locations as well
as these three affiliated plants all have excess capacity. As a result, the
company chose to close the Akron production operation and shift production.
Approximately 50 percent of the volume will be transferred to the two
Pennsylvania operations and 50 percent to Springfield, Ohio. Workers who will
be most affected will be employees — about 165 — who do not have Commercial
Drivers Licenses which would qualify them for driver positions at the new
“This was a hard decision. Our company looked at every option possible
before we came to this conclusion,” said Craig McCutcheon, General Manager for
Reiter. “Unfortunately, our production volume has been on a steady decline
resulting in excess capacity across all four plants in the region and we do
not see an opportunity to increase volume.”
Added McCutcheon, “While I know this is difficult news for our employees,
I am pleased that we will be able to secure some jobs at our new distribution
center. We plan to continue to be a vital part of the Akron community.”
Customers will continue to receive quality dairy products and the same
service during the transition.
The Company employs 242 employees at the Akron facility.
About Dean Foods
Dean Foods Company is one of the leading food and beverage companies in
the United States. Its Dairy Group division is the largest processor and
distributor of milk and other dairy products in the country, with products
sold under more than 50 familiar local and regional brands and a wide array of
private labels. The Company’s WhiteWave Foods subsidiary markets and sells a
variety of well-known dairy and dairy-related products, such as Silk(R)
soymilk, Horizon Organic(R) milk and other dairy products and International
Delight(R) coffee creamers. WhiteWave Foods’ Rachel’s Organic(R) brand is the
largest organic milk brand and second largest organic yogurt brand in the
Vice President, Corporate Communications
Senior Director, Investor Relations
SOURCE Dean Foods Company