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ELGIN, IL-John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc. is betting a new facility here will help push annual sales to the next level. The nut and snack food maker broke ground Wednesday on its 330,000-sf addition to a 656,000-sf manufacturing facility it acquired as part of its $48-million acquisition of Panasonic’s 95-acre campus along the Northwest Tollway.

When the company broke ground in 1981 on its current headquarters in Elk Grove Village, it also was considered a state-of-the-art facility, says executive vice president Jeffrey Sanfilippo. The company had 300 employees and $15 million in annual sales then, but has grown its payroll to more than 900 with $580 million in sales. “Within these walls, we hope to be a $1-billion company soon,” Sanfilippo says.

McShane Construction Corp. has begun construction of the addition to the manufacturing facility, one of two buildings purchased by John B. Sanfilippo & Son. A 400,456-sf office building, east of Randall Road and overlooking the Northwest Tollway, also was part of the deal, but Panasonic is leasing back 160,000 sf at 1707 Alft Ln. The manufacturing facility, which will include office space, will be completed by June 2006, says Jim McShane.

John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc. considered sites in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas, where it already has facilities, before deciding to stay in Illinois, thanks heavily to a $5-million incentive package from the state’s department of commerce and economic opportunity. The company will receive corporate income tax credits over the next 10 years based on keeping 930 jobs and adding 25 new jobs to its payroll, as well as job training money.

“Without DCEO stepping to the plate, we might not be here today,” says Elgin Mayor Ed Schock. “Mayors die for the opportunity to welcome a company like this to their towns.”

Once the company decided against moving out of state, the selection process was still just beginning, Sanfilippo suggests. The company looked first to its hometown of 24 years, Elk Grove Village, before widening the parameters to include other northwest suburbs such as Hoffman Estates, Roselle, Bartlett, Huntley and Harvard. “We almost bought a rock quarry in Bartlett,” Sanfilippo recalls. “Then we got smart and looked in Elgin.”

Sanfilippo says the company has letters of intent from potential buyers for its properties in Arlington Heights, Des Plaines and Elk Grove Village. Due diligence has begun, and all deals include leaseback provisions allowing John B. Sanfilippo & Son time to move operations to Elgin. While headquarters operations will be transferred from Elk Grove Village by the end of 2006, the entire consolidation is expected to take three years.

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