The former PowerBar plant on Eisenman Road in Boise won’t stand empty for long.
PowerBar shut down a month or so ago with 165 employees, and on Aug. 24 Hearthside Food Solutions announced it would acquire the plant, also to produce nutritional supplement bars. The sale from Post Holdings Inc. is expected to close in September, according to a Hearthside release.
The Downers Grove, Ill.,-based Hearthside on the same day announced it was acquiring the Dutch-based producer of non-branded bars, VSI.
“These two transactions will enable the rapid scaling of VSI’s formulations, research and development, product development, and full-scale production in the Americas,” Hearthside said in a release.
Hearthside officials were not immediately available for comment.
“It’s really great to hear that that building will be able to keep doing what it did well,” said Clark Krause, executive director of the Boise Valley Economic Partnership. “They have fantastic machines.”
PowerBar opened the Boise manufacturing plant in 1994.
Hearthside, with 19 U.S.-based facilities, is North America’s largest contract manufacturer of bars and baked goods. Hearthside does not produce its own branded bars.
The acquisition of the PowerBar plant in Boise enables Hearthside to quickly expand into new products.
“It takes two years from greenfield to operational bar plant,” said Dwayne Hughes, Hearthside senior vice president of supply chain, in a release. “We wanted VSI capacity in the North American mix more quickly. This facility is ready to go today. The timing, the location, and the state-of-the-art equipment provides a perfect solution that makes us competitive in more bar categories immediately.”
It was not immediately known how many people Hearthside would employ in Boise.
“I hope they are able to make use of the talented people who worked at PowerBar,” Krause said.
Krause said he hadn’t expected the PowerBar plant to remain vacant for long.
“We were getting a lot of calls about that building,” Krause said. “Most of it was food. We are down to a very minimal number of buildings remaining.”e