ABILENE, TEXAS — Great Lakes Cheese Co., Inc., a manufacturer and packager of natural and processed bulk, shredded and sliced cheeses, has broken ground on a new 286,500-square-foot packaging and distribution facility in Abilene.

The Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA) and the City Council of Abilene last month approved a $33.3 million incentive package for the $184.5 million expansion project. In addition to the funding approved by the City Council, the project benefits from receiving both a Veteran’s Fund and a Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) grant from the office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

The project is expected to create more than 500 new jobs.

“Great Lakes Cheese is a family business built on the values of hard work, honesty and integrity,” said Dan Zagzebski, chief executive officer of Great Lakes Cheese. “These values continue to support our long-term growth in the dairy industry and help us identify the employee-owners, customers, suppliers and communities that align with our culture. We feel fortunate to have found that fit with Abilene and are proud to welcome Texans into our Great Lakes Cheese family.”

Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams called the project “the biggest opportunity recruited to the city of Abilene in the last 30 years” and “the perfect example of what strategic economic development should be.”

“This successful partnership with Great Lakes Cheese will benefit Abilene and the state of Texas by generating opportunities for decades to come,” Mr. Williams said.

Great Lakes Cheese operates four super plants (Hiram, Ohio; Plymouth, Wis.; Fillmore, Utah; and Manchester, Tenn.; three cheese production plants (Adams, NY; Cuba, NY; and La Crosse, Wis.; and one specialty plant (Wausau, Wis.). The company is privately owned by the Epprecht family and has more than 3,000 employees.