National Coney Island to move chili factory to Roseville

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 17, 2014

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ROSEVILLE — National Coney Island announced plans to move its chili factory from Detroit to its property in Roseville, investing $3 million to expand its operations and warehouse at the corner of Groesbeck and Martin.

Community and Economic Development Director Jason Friedmann said National Coney Island has been in Roseville for a long time and is interested in consolidating its business and moving everything.

The company sought city establishment of an industrial development district and an industrial facilities tax exemption certificate, also known as an IFT, which allows it to pursue a tax abatement from the state. If it’s approved, the new investments spelled out in the agreement would be exempt from up to half of all city, school and county property taxes for a specific time period.

“They’re asking for a 12-year exemption, and based on city policy, that’s what we’re asking for,” Friedmann said. “They have 18 employees in Detroit. All 18 will be moving here, and they’re looking to add an additional two employees over the next two years.”

City Manager Scott Adkins said that when the city did its own internal review, the application “more than exceeded” the requirements for a 12-year exemption.

“As for the comments for jobs moving, sometimes it’s easy to forget that even though those folks are working for the company in another location, these are new Roseville jobs coming to our community, and that’s always a good thing,” Adkins said.

National Coney Island Chief Financial Officer Dan Roma said that the current factory, known officially as the National Chili Co., has been in Detroit since 1927 but was bought by National Coney Island in the 1960s. The existing factory is limited, and moving operations to Roseville would allow the company to expand its product line, he said.

With a move, they could run more than one shift a day at the factory, as well, he said.

“Conservatively, we’re to move the 18 (employees) over and add another two, but that’s conservative, given (my) — as the accountant’s — projections,” Roma said. “If  (President Tom Giftos) were here, he’d double that number, because he hopes to not only offer a wider breadth of chili products but bring new products to bear at this new facility.”

Roma said the company not only supplies its own restaurants with chili from the factory, but other regional restaurants and wholesalers, as well.

According to the application form, construction would start in April 2015 and be finished by April 2017. The expansion would include the factory, office space, packaging equipment, and creating additional warehouse space. In total, the location being looked at is about 30,000 square feet, Roma said.

Roma also confirmed that people could come by to purchase chili, after Mayor John Chirkun asked.

The applications will now be sent to the state, where the company must get approval for an IFT. If a business fails to generate the number of jobs anticipated in the agreement, it could be required to pay back the property taxes it was exempted from.

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