LONDONDERRY — Leaders of a food processing and distribution company kicked off construction of a new facility in Londonderry with a groundbreaking ceremony and a new name Wednesday. The message: It’s not just about chicken anymore.
CEO and President Bill Conrad announced that Poultry Products Northeast will now be known as Prime Source Foods. A truck with the company logo on the side was used to unveil the new name as it drove by a group of people attending a groundbreaking ceremony for the company’s new main facility.
“Getting to today was a long time coming for PPNE,” Conrad said.
The new name is a reflection of how the company has evolved over the years.
“This is not about outrunning our past,” Conrad said.
Conrad said Prime Source Foods is primarily a food distribution company that takes large cuts of meat, makes custom cuts and ships out the meat in smaller packages. It first began with processing poultry, but the company since added beef, pork and other foods.
Today, Conrad said food processing is only about 3 percent what the company does and that the old name was causing confusion, even as they were planning the new building in Londonderry.
“Questions started to arise whether chickens would be moving all over their (the neighbors’) parking lots,” Conrad said.
The 105,000-square-foot building will be built by Brennan Investment Group for $26 million, financed by Camden National Bank and backed by equity from a new group of owners who took over the company in February. It will be located at the end of Jacks Bridge Road.
Currently, the company is based in a building in Hooksett that the company owns. The plan is to sell the old building and lease the new one from Brennan Investment Group. Conrad said they will be signing a 20-year lease, and there are plans to add another 50,000 square feet to the building in the next 10 to 15 years.
CMC Design Build is the engineering firm that designed the facility. The initial buildout will feature 40,000 square feet of warehouse space, an 18,000-square-foot refrigerated dock, 8,000 square feet of processing space and a 3,000-square-foot test kitchen and presentation space.
Former owner Julian Stogniew said he’s happy things turned out the way they did. He was afraid the company would be bought by a larger company and broken up.
“This will keep this company going and will keep people in work,” Stogniew said.
He said the company has a number of longtime employees who have been with them for more than 20 or 30 years.
Conrad said Prime Source employs about 280 people company-wide, about 200 of which are based in New Hampshire. Construction on the new facility is due to finish by February 2020, he said.
With over 3,000 customers, Prime Source Foods is one of the largest independently-owned food distribution companies in New England and upstate New York.