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Anita's deal gets redone

Hank Hayes • May 18, 2020 at 8:00 AM

KINGSPORT -- After an economic development deal gets done, it can get a makeover.

Such is the case with the Kingsport Economic Development Board (KEDB) which recently decided to put together a new deal for the Anita’s Snack Foods operation at the Tri-Cities Crossing.

KEDB, after completing a $2 million expansion at the Anita’s facility, passed a resolution to consolidate the current construction indebtedness into one loan and reduce the interest rate on the project.

KEDB is getting a $6.6 million loan and will enter into a new 10-year lease with Anita’s with two five-year options. The lease does not require Anita’s to pay real property taxes for the initial 10-year term of the lease.

“I guess it’s like any other deal,” said Kingsport Chamber Chief Financial Officer Elaine Bodenweiser, who handles KEDB’s finances. “There is no solid assurance other than with this one we do have the parent company’s guarantee. We asked for updated financials and they were reviewed and felt like we were good to go. I think they went through a bad period late last year. It was a challenge to communicate with them at times. Since February, they have paid all their rent payments on time.”

KEDB member and former chairman Bill Dudney noted the new Anita’s deal was not a simple transaction.

“I just wanted to say thank you ... for putting this thing back together and getting it on track,” Dudney said. “This is our best chance for this property to be successful.”

Company background

Anita’s is a privately owned, family-run snack food manufacturer based in San Bernardino, California.

Since the company took over the former Pure Foods building in August 2018, employment grew from 20 to 85 jobs.

What the expansion accomplishes

Anita’s added 40,000 square feet of warehouse space. Anita’s had two lines operating five to six days a week and installed a third chip line.

Former City Manager Jeff Fleming previously pointed out the company’s decision to locate in Kingsport reflects the Tri-Cities’ important location in a national market.

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