Gonzales-based company, Blue Runner, to expand and produce frozen foods
GONZALES - A popular Gonzales-based food brand known for its red beans, navy beans, and jambalaya is hoping to expand into frozen foods by means of a new $2.2. million production facility.
According to The Advocate, Blue Runner's first frozen products will be limited to sausage gumbo and red beans with sausage, said Katie Bautsch, vice-president of operations for the family-owned business.
"We're really excited to expand into frozen foods," Bautsch told The Advocate, later adding that the company expects its new products to be available by the end of 2021.
The new frozen food items will be sold in grocery stores, as well as to restaurants and grocery store delis, she said.
This marks the nearly 93-year-old company's third expansion of its product line over the last decade.
Blue Runner added dried beans to its products in 2015 and, in 2011, it began to include the meal bases for Creole dishes.
In order for its new plant to be built at the front of the Blue Runner headquarters and production facilities on Burnside Avenue in Gonzales, the company is requesting an exemption from property taxes, over several years, through the state's industrial tax exemption program.
If the request is approved, the company would be exempt from 80 percent of property taxes on the project for five years, renewable to 10 years.
"Blue Runner Foods is a Louisiana-based, family-owned company that has fed the people of our region for over 100 years," said Kate MacArthur, chief executive officer of the Ascension Economic Development Corp., who presented the company's request to the Ascension Parish School Board last week.
The company, she said, "takes pride in keeping Louisiana's food tradition alive."
According to The Advocate, the School Board, which receives the largest share of property taxes in the parish, would see $155,000 in new property taxes from the project over 30 years and, during the construction phase, $27,000 in sales taxes.
Under the guidelines of the state's industrial tax exemption program, the School Board would give up $125,000 in property taxes over 10 years, The Advocate reports.
The board will vote on the request at its March 16 meeting. Blue Runner will also be seeking approval from the city of Gonzales, the Ascension Parish government, and Sheriff Bobby Webre.