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Wells Dunkirk expansion gets boost from National Grid

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward National Grid is assisting Wells Ice Cream expansion in Dunkirk.

National Grid announced Monday it is providing a $750,000 economic development grant to support a major expansion at Wells Enterprises Inc.’s Dunkirk manufacturing facility.

Wells is the largest privately held, family-owned ice cream manufacturer in the U.S., and the country’s second-largest ice cream manufacturer. As part of its growth strategy, the company in 2019 acquired Dunkirk-based Fieldbrook Foods Corp., which dates to 1914 when it was known as Dunkirk Ice Cream.

“We’re excited to partner with National Grid as we work to expand our Dunkirk manufacturing facility. We know they understand the importance of investing in the local community by providing economic development grants,” said David Fiore, director of plant operations in Dunkirk. “We look forward to continue growing our manufacturing footprint and provide even more job opportunities in our local community.”

National Grid has enjoyed a lengthy relationship with leaders at the Dunkirk facility where, from 2011 to 2017, the companies partnered to complete four interior lighting and refrigeration equipment upgrades that totaled more than $500,000. However,through National Grid’s energy efficiency program,financial incentives were used to cut those costs in half. To date, the investment has resulted in energy cost savings that exceed $700,000 and associated carbon emission reductions or more than 5,500 tons, which is the equivalent to the annual energy consumption of approximately 575 homes, according to U.S. EPA.

“Ice cream manufacturing has been synonymous with Dunkirk for more than a century, and Wells Enterprises’ investment signifies that the company wants to remain in the area for another 100 years,” said National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa. “As Wells expands its operations, adds staff and plans ahead, we look forward to continuing our partnershipto ensure the integrity of the electricity system, identify new ways to work together and help Wells achieve their goals.”

Wells is in the midst of a multi-phased, $87 million project that calls for the addition of manufacturing linesand up to 70 new jobs. In addition to National Grid’s economic development grant,New York Power Authority and New York State, through the Excelsior Jobs Program, are also providing incentives to support the project.

The $750,000 economic development grant was made through National Grid’s Electric Capital Investment program, which is among a suite of economic development programs offered by the company and provides funds to offset customer costs associated with electricity infrastructure upgrades needed as part of business expansion or new construction projects. Since 2003, National Grid’s 18 economic development programs have provided more than $100 million in assistance, helping to create or retain more than 50,000 jobs and supporting more than $10 billion in private and public investment across upstate New York. More information about National Grid’s economic development programs is available at www.shovelready.com

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