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Toombs Lands Tuna Plant
Monday, 04 May 2009

May 4--  At a time of high unemployment, the Toombs County Development Authority and the state of Georgia have landed a big fish.  Chicken of the Sea International is opening a tuna canning plant in the Toombs Industrial Park on U.S. One north of Lyons.

"I think it's one of the most exciting things that has happened to our community in some time, especially in this economic era we're in today.  We're just so thankful that Chicken of the Sea has made a decision to make a positive contribution to Toombs County and its citizens," said Sam Polk, chairman of the Toombs County Development Authority.

The company plans to start tuna canning operations in October and will ship tuna nationwide from the former Symington Industries building in Lyons.  It's investing $20 million in the operation and plans to create 200 local jobs.  

Tooombs Development Authority Executive Director Bill Mitchell says more jobs could come in the future.  "They've projected growth significantly beyond that in the third and fourth year, and they're also looking at the possibility of getting some of their primary suppliers to move into this area and that would add additional jobs and investment in the area," he said.

The Development Authority is investing about $200,000 in local incentives and the state of Georgia is providing $1 million in plant infrastructure for a 10,000 square foot freezer.

Senator Tommie Williams of Lyons says Governor Sonny Perdue's leadership helped "seal the deal."  

"It's hard to recruit companies to come to rural South Georgia.  The Governor stepped up to the plate to help us do what he needed to do on the economic development side.  We're happy because this will be a lot of jobs for people in our area with a company that's going to be here to stay," the Senator said.



Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that Chicken of the Sea International plans to return tuna canning to the United States and open a domestic canning operation in Lyons. The company will create 200 jobs and invest $20 million.

“We are proud that Georgia will be home to Chicken of the Sea’s first domestic canning operation,” said Governor Perdue. “Our state’s strong workforce and extensive transportation network make it a natural choice for food processing plants that want to keep costs down and reach their markets quickly and efficiently.”

Chicken of the Sea is bringing canning operations to a 200,000-square-foot facility in Lyons, where workers will process frozen tuna loins into shelf stable Chicken of The Sea canned tuna to be shipped throughout the United States. The company expects to begin operations in October and will utilize Georgia Quick Start to train its employees.

“State and local officials in Lyons presented us with a tremendous opportunity that ensures our ability to compete in the marketplace for the long term,” said Shue Wing Chan, President of Chicken of the Sea International.  “The state of Georgia provided a business development package that makes for a smooth transition. We expect this new canning operation will ensure Chicken of the Sea will remain viable and competitive, and we are looking forward to being part of the Lyons community.”

“We are extremely excited that Chicken of the Sea realizes the great potential of opening a major facility in Toombs County and has decided to join our family of respected companies,” said Sam Polk, Chairman of the Toombs County Development Authority.  “The decision reflects on Toombs County’s efforts to improve economic opportunities in our region. The jobs and investment will greatly assist in our efforts to strengthen the industrial base.  On behalf of the Toombs County Development Authority, I thank Chicken of the Sea for the positive contribution to our citizens.”

 Chris Pumphrey, project manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, assisted the company in locating a site for its operation.

 About the company

A seafood category leader, Chicken of the Sea provides a variety of shelf-stable seafood products, including tuna, salmon, crab, shrimp, oysters, clams, mackerel and sardines. The Chicken of the Sea brand and famous Mermaid icon are among the most recognized brands in America.  For more information, visit www.chickenofthesea.com


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