General Mills to add jobs in Social Circle
Distribution facility will create 112 new positions in the area

SOCIAL CIRCLE - General Mills will open a new distribution center in Social Circle, investing $42 million and creating 112 jobs, Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday.

The 1.5 million-square-foot distribution center will be located along Hightower Road in Walton County and will distribute General Mills products throughout the country.

General Mills opened a manufacturing facility in Covington in 1989.

The four-county, mixed-use park Stanton Springs, located partially in Newton County, was under consideration for the distribution plant but was taken out of the running early on because there is no nearby rail system, according to Rees Waite, vice president of Technology Park Atlanta, developer for the project.

"General Mills is pleased to be growing our presence in Georgia with the new distribution center in Social Circle," said Kevin Schoen, vice president of logistics for General Mills. "Our Covington team demonstrates day after day the dedication of Georgia employees, and we are excited by the strategic logistic location that Social Circle offers."

General Mills will contract with a third-party logistics provider to staff and run the facility, and the company will use the Georgia Department of Labor to solicit applications. Permanent job hiring will occur in early 2010.

"On behalf of the Board of Commissioners and citizens of Walton County, we are extremely proud to welcome General Mills to our community," Walton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Kevin Little said. "With our current economy, this is a great commitment from General Mills to invest in new jobs and investment."

The facility will be one of the largest in the country built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards. LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community performs on energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

General Mills has also made conservation efforts at its Covington facility, where the company installed a $6 million treatment plant that cut water usage by 46 percent.

Perdue toured the facility and viewed the treatment plant in September.

"I am thrilled to see one of the world's largest food companies continue to grow right here in Georgia," Perdue said. "Georgia's status as the 'corner store' of the Southeast makes it a perfect location for distribution centers, and our quality workforce ensures that businesses will get their products to market on time and under budget."

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.