Fifteen months after Quad Cities’ leaders and Fair Oaks Foods first celebrated a new $134 million pork production plant destined for Davenport, development of the facility remains on “pause.”
Back in June company leaders had said they were hoping for an early 2024 startup of operations, which will process pre-cooked bacon. But that also is likely to be pushed back along with the completion and outfitting of the facility that is expected to employ about 250 area workers.
Lingering challenges linked to the COVID-19 pandemic are being cited by company leaders who shared this statement, via the Quad Cities Chamber, about the status of the future processing plant on a 32-acre site near Interstate 80: “We continue to work on our opportunity to build a facility in Davenport. We have taken a pause due to higher projected costs resulting from the pandemic. We are diligently working through these challenges and will share updates as we have them.”
The Fair Oaks development isn’t the first or even the largest development planned for the ever-expanding Eastern Iowa Industrial Center (EICC) that has seen delays. The largely completed Amazon robotics fulfillment center, which is expected to bring 1,000 new jobs, has also fallen victim to supply chain issues. The company first announced its plans July 7, 2021, to build its second Iowa robotics fulfillment center in Davenport.
Then, on May 25, 2022, the world’s biggest retailer and cloud support company reported that completion of its four-story, 2.9 million-square-foot Amazon Fulfillment Center had been pushed to sometime in 2024.
In May of 2023, however, the company announced plans to open the center in August but an opening date has not yet been announced. Company officials have not responded to repeated requests for information from the QCBJ.
Fair Oaks is a family-owned processing company, headquartered in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, that was founded in 1985 and has grown to become the 11th largest black-owned business in the United States. It produces and supplies a variety of protein products.
Company leaders came to the Quad Cities in June 2022 to celebrate the project and the community where it was planning to locate.
“The opportunity that the city has extended to us is the right fit, at the right time, for Fair Oaks Foods,” the company’s CEO and President Michael Thompson said.
Added COO Joseph Freda, “Fair Oaks Foods prides itself on the relationships that it holds. We continue to build our legacy through strategic partnerships that share our values of trust and integrity.”