What We've Been Up To

Carolina Foods opens Pineville production facility, putting South End site in play for new use

By Collin Huguley  |  Staff Writer  Charlotte Business Journal

Carolina Foods

Carolina Foods knew for years it needed another site for a production facility as the company ran out of room at its longtime South End home.

Those plans accelerated after Carolina Foods' 2021 acquisition by Charlotte private equity firm Falfurrias Capital Partners. They culminated with the company's grand opening today of its Pineville manufacturing operation.

Carolina Foods in recent months began production in Pineville at 12031 Carolina Logistics Drive. Beacon Partners developed the 428,000-square-foot building for Carolina Foods, which signed a long-term lease in 2022 at the Charlotte developer's Carolina Logistics Park. Carolina Foods CEO Dan Myers said the new facility — once fully ramped up — will enable the company to double its sales and production capacity. The company makes Duchess Brand Honey Buns, doughnuts and pies.

The new facility will include seven production lines, warehousing and office space for employees. Carolina Foods expects to employ 400 to 450 workers at the facility once it is fully moved in. The company is still operating its South End bakery while it transitions operations to Pineville in phases. Myers declined to disclose the company's capital investment in the Pineville facility.

Carolina Foods has opened its first Honey Buns production line in Pineville. A second production line for doughnuts has been laid out and is being commissioned.

Myers said he plans to open the first three production lines in Pineville this year. They will include all new equipment, including significant investments in automation.

The last four lines are expected to open in 2025. They will have a mix of new equipment and machinery repurposed from the South End facility.

"For as long as Carolina Foods has been in business, we have gone to market and competed very well because of our quality, our service and our scalability," Myers said. "All we're doing here is we are amplifying those three things."

Why did Carolina Foods choose Pineville?

Carolina Foods, which is in its 90th year of business, conducted an extensive search for a new home.

That search spanned a 50- to 60-mile radius around Charlotte, Myers said. It included sites in South Carolina, Mecklenburg County and other N.C. counties in the region.

Beacon's industrial park was an ideal fit because the developer was willing to do a build-to-suit project for Carolina Foods. The more than 40-acre project site also has room for future expansions. It is significantly larger than Carolina Foods' location at 1807 S. Tryon St., which is around 6 acres.

Carolina Foods' existing South End production facility is just over 100,000 square feet. The company has another 100,000-square-foot warehouse on South Boulevard as well. All of those operations will move to Pineville.

Labor was a major consideration in choosing the Pineville site, too.

"The location was perfect for us," Myers said. "We're only 10 miles from our existing bakery. We surveyed our team members and got a very, very high percentage of team members that said, 'Yeah, I will commute there.' So, we got to preserve all of that knowledge of how to make Honey Buns and doughnuts. Also, look at the location. It is a lot easier for us to draw from right over the border in South Carolina because of the highways."

Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. was the general contractor on the Carolina Foods project. Stellar Group was the interior architect. Merriman Schmitt Architects led shell building design efforts. Orsborn Engineering Group was the civil engineer. Cushman & Wakefield's Keith Bell and MPV Properties' Bailey Patrick and Bailey Patrick Jr. represented Carolina Foods in the lease deal with Beacon. Beacon's Pete Kidwell and Tim Robertson represented the landlord.

What will happen to the South End site?

Carolina Foods' move could also bring a marquee South End site into play for new development.

The company is planning to operate both its Pineville and South End bakeries through the end of 2025. Myers is planning for all production to be in Pineville and online by the end of next year. On that timeline, Carolina Foods plans to be fully moved out of its South End location by the end of the first quarter of 2026.

The company's South Tryon Street site is owned by an entity affiliated with the Scarborough family, real estate records show. The Scarborough family, which owned Carolina Foods prior to its sale to Falfurrias, still remains on the company's board of directors.

Myers said the landlord would like to repurpose the site, as it is "very, very valuable" due to its location in South End. He did not say more about the owner's plans.

"That site is owned by the Scarborough family and they will determine how it is developed," Myers said.

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