The diversity of our companies is one reason why Quonset Business Park has become a Rhode Island economic success story, hosting over 200 companies and nearly 12,000 jobs.
Quonset is a manufacturing center, hosting nearly 7,000 of Rhode Island’s total manufacturing jobs - that’s one of every six in the state. But we are much more than a manufacturing park. The park hosts some of the state’s most successful companies, like Ocean State Job Lot and Toray Plastics. We also have created a new Flex Industrial Campus for growing companies who need affordable space that will adapt to their needs as their business grows. Fresh food processing is also one of the growing sectors at Quonset Business Park and we were excited to celebrate the launch of Infinity Fresh Kitchen recently, which brought more than 250 new jobs to the Business Park and the potential for more growth in the next few years.
Infinity Fresh Kitchen, a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize USA’s services company Retail Business Services, produces salads, sandwiches, wraps, and other items for the deli and grab-and-go sections of supermarkets. Starting in 2020, the facility will add two new components– the production of freshly cut fruit and vegetables, and the opening of a culinary innovation center, which will test new, fresh food concepts. Infinity Fresh Kitchen’s brand new facility, managed by partner Taylor Farms, is in the former Greencore building. This is an example of why we are confident that Quonset can continue to attract, retain and grow new companies for Rhode Island.
2018 was a landmark year for the fresh food processing industry at Quonset. Infinity Meat Solutions, another subsidiary of Retail Business Services, broke ground on a $100 million, 200,000 s/f protein packaging facility last October, which is now about half way complete, and will host 700 jobs when it opens in 2020. Cargill Meat Solutions has been selected as the strategic partner to manage the workforce at this new facility. With 950 new jobs added in the fresh foods industry in the past year, Quonset has another flourishing industry hiring Rhode Island workers.
Governor Gina Raimondo and R.I. commerce secretary Stefan Pryor, chair of the Quonset Development Corp. board of directors, have been instrumental in establishing a business-friendly environment in Rhode Island that attracts new industry. Their commitment to expanding job training programs is building a modern workforce pipeline that will enable companies like Infinity Fresh Kitchen to grow.
Quonset’s location in the heart of southern New England is ideal for fresh food companies looking to reach their customers in the Northeast. Quonset’s transportation infrastructure is another contributor to our success, which enables direct shipping routes to area grocery stores. Quonset has secured nearly $200 million in state and federal funds to upgrade Rte. 403, which efficiently connects with major highways like I-95. Our partners in the federal government have also secured $160 million to support freight rail in and out of the park – helping us to maintain the 14 miles of rail line that Quonset companies use to bring their raw material in and out of the Park and connect to global markets. Lastly, we host the Port of Davisville, Rhode Island’s only public port, which is available to handle shipments by sea. Whatever transportation method is best for the fresh food industry and any Quonset company, we have the infrastructure to support it.
Quonset Business Park is the leading engine of economic development and job creation in Rhode Island, and now a leader in the fresh food packaging industry. The QDC is excited to be a part of the initial success of Infinity Fresh Kitchen and the impressive growth of the fresh foods industry at the park.
Steven King, PE, is the managing director of the Quonset Development Corp., North Kingstown, R.I.