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The Upstate Economy

Kraft-Heinz expansion of Lowville plant a 'positive move for the county'

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Lowville Cream Cheese Festival
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Kraft-Heinz plans to expand its cream cheese plant in Lowville and create 110 new jobs.

When Kraft-Heinz announced last week it would close seven of its factories nationwide, one factory in New York got better news than the rest. The company proposed a plan to expand its cream cheese plant in Lowville and hire more than 100 new employees over the next five years.

The Kraft plant in Lowville, which makes the famous Philadelphia brand cream cheese, currently employs 340 people.

Lewis County Manager Liz Swearingin says back in June, when Kraft announced it was merging with Heinz, county officials got on the phone with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office.

“Big companies are interested in cutting costs and we didn’t’ know exactly how our plant would fare,” Swearingin said.

Last week, Kraft Heinz announced it never planned to close its plant in Lowville and instead plans to expand its operations there. Swearingin says the deal is also a boost for dairy farmers who send milk to the plant.

“When you think about not only the jobs at the plant but the dairy farms that will potentially be supporting them and all these subsidiary businesses that support the agriculture industry that all around it’s a very positive move for the county.”

Swearingin says Kraft Heinz has said nothing about what the 100 new jobs at the plant will entail.

Kraft Heinz is now working with the Lowville village planning commission to get approval for the factories expansion.

"It’s in the early stages right now of doing the permitting and engineering work but that's all we know at this point," Swearingin said.

But Swearingin also says the good news for Lowville is bittersweet. More than a thousand jobs will be lost nearby in St. Lawrenece and Oswego Counties.

Entergy Corporation is planning to close the FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in Oswego and Alcoa announced it would end its upstate smeltering operations.