Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Aphena’s Chocolate Dr. Plant Undergoing Expansion

Aphena Pharma Solutions is undergoing an 80,000 square foot expansion at the Chocolate Drive plant in Cookeville.

CEO Eric Allen said the whole expansion is dedicated to serving a client they work with from Aphena’s liquid manufacturing plant in Easton, Maryland. Allen said the custom build-out will cost several million dollars.

“We’ll be putting in three to four highly automated production lines, very customized, specific packaging needs for this client,” Allen said. “And we’ll be starting production with them actually this month, and then it will continue to scale up and grow over the next six months.”

Allen said he expects the relationship between Aphena and the client to provide the Cookeville location with work for more than ten years. He said they are expecting to hire thirty to fifty employees over the next six months to handle the increased workload.

“It could go more than that based on the consumer itself, our customer, so if their product and their new forecasts increase, obviously we’re going to need more than that,” Allen said. “But right now, based on their projections of what we need, it’s going to be between thirty and fifty people.”

Allen said the new space and additional assembly lines are scheduled to be in production at some point in September or October. It will be paid for by both Aphena and their client.

“We are already in production in some temporary suites and things that we’ve built today, but the expansion itself will be completed by the end of August,” Allen said.

Allen said the client is a large consumer-based product company that they have been working with for about three years.

“We’ve been trying to get them to let us do the packaging and that opportunity presented itself earlier this year and we were able to come to alignment and agreement,” Allen said.

Allen said they were going to consolidate their operations in the facility on Fisk Road into their Chocolate Drive building, but the expansion has allowed them to maintain both spaces.