By Wally Kennedy
Globe Business Writer
CARTHAGE, Mo. - From U.S. Highway 71 on the west side of Carthage, the towering white box looms like a massive refrigerator.
That description fits more than its appearance. The new 150,000-square-foot distribution center for Schreiber Foods Inc. is a giant cooler for its cheese products.
"Everything is refrigerated, but the office,'' said Deborah Van Dyk, corporate spokeswoman for the privately held, Wisconsin-based company.
The company started shipping from the $27 million center on May 15. The center should be fully operational by the end of June after system operations are verified, she said.
On an average day, the center will manage 100 truck shipments. To help handle that traffic, the city and state are to begin construction in December of a new interchange at Highway 71 and Fairview Road.
The Fairview interchange, a longtime goal of city leaders in Carthage, will be financed by a Community Development Bloc Grant, plus a $1 million federal grant, and another $1 million in state and city money that have been earmarked over a period of years. The Missouri Department of Transportation has acquired the right of way for the project.
The center is 128 feet high and will add approximately 50 jobs to Schreiber operations in Carthage. The company has operated a cheese plant in Carthage since 1945.
City and Carthage Chamber of Commerce officials worked with Schreiber for nearly two years on planning for the center, including the expansion of the city's enterprise zone and annexation of company-owned property.
"Fairview, that's what we call it, is our largest distribution center in the United States,'' said Van Dyk. "The site was selected based on our customer base as well as the enthusiasm from the community and the state.''
In Missouri, Schreiber operates two plants at Clinton, and one each at Monett and Mount Vernon.
By Wally Kennedy
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