WNY Cheesemaker Could Double its Workforce

February 28, 2013 Updated Feb 28, 2013 at 9:11 AM EDT

By James Fink, Buffalo Business First

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WNY Cheesemaker Could Double its Workforce

February 28, 2013 Updated Feb 28, 2013 at 9:11 AM EDT

A continuing surge in its growth is fueling a major expansion proposal by Pembroke-based Yancey's Fancy Inc.

The cheesemaker is working with the Genesee County Economic Development Center and Empire State Development Corp. on a proposed expansion plan that could see its main plant grow more than three-fold. Tentative plans call for the current 30,000 square-foot plant to expand to 102,200 square-feet.

The price tag is expected to be "north of $7 million," said Brian Bailey, Yancey's Fancy vice president of operations.

Work could start later this year and the project is on target to be completed by late 2014. Once completed, the Genesee County cheesemaker could see its local employment swell from 110 workers to 190 workers within the next few years.

"We've outgrown our plant," Bailey said. "The reality is, every day, we are trying to squeeze six gallons into a five-gallon bucket."

Fueling the expansion are several factors, including various new lines of cheese the company expects to start producing and increased deals with national retailers and supermarket chains.

While Yancey's Fancy's main plant is in Pembroke, it also has a 40,000-square-foot refrigerated storage facility in Batavia.

With the expansion, the production and distribution of Yancey Fancy's processed cheeses will be made through the expanded portion of the Pembroke plant. Natural cheeses will be made in the current 30,000-square-foot plant. The Batavia operation will remain as cold storage for the company's aged cheese products.

Yancey's Fancy's produces more than 9 million pounds of cheese products annually and has estimated annual revenues of $33 million. The expansion could see the company increase its yearly production to 15 million pounds and open the door for revenues to approach $50 million.

Yancey's Fancy products included XXX Cheddar Cheese, Buffalo Wing Cheese and Steakhouse Onion. The company makes more than 45 different flavors and types of cheeses.