Poultry company buys Renzi warehouse to create up to 30 jobs

WATERTOWN — In a move expected to create up to 30 full-time jobs within a year, a Canadian businessman has bought a Bradley Street warehouse building from Renzi Foodservice to expand his poultry inspection company there.

Montreal businessman Modhar Mousa, owner of Midway International Logistics LLC, bought the multi-temperature storage warehouse at 948 Bradley St. on Monday for $1.3 million from Renzi, according to Jefferson County property records.

Planned earlier this year, the acquisition has both helped Midway and Renzi greatly expand their operations. Renzi, based on Rail Drive in the City Center Industrial Park, recently moved its food products out of the Bradley Street building and into an addition of more 40,000 square feet built at its headquarters.

Since Midway was launched in 2013, the company had leased 2,500 square feet of space in the Bradley Street warehouse. It now plans to make use of the entire 55,000-square-foot warehouse, including a large freezer that takes up the back quarter of the building, walk-in coolers and dry storage space, said Courtney C. Schermerhorn, plant manager. The company expects to rapidly expand its business, she said, hiring “between 20 and 30 employees in the next six to 12 months.”

Renzi, meanwhile, finished constructing the addition to the back of the building this fall, Ms. Schermerhorn said, moving products out of the Bradley Street building about a month ago.

“They moved out as quickly as they could after their project was done,” she said.

Renzi — among the largest food distribution companies in upstate New York — has estimated that its expansion project will create about 40 jobs. The addition, constructed by Con Tech Building Systems, Gouverneur, includes 38,819 square feet of additional warehousing space and 1,572 square feet of office space. A worker from Con Tech said Wednesday that the warehouse space is fully completed, while office space is expected to be finished within a month.

Renzi previously said it would use money generated by the sale of its Bradley Street building for its expansion project. Jude Renzi, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, did not return a call Wednesday seeking comment.

Planning for Growth

Midway now serves as a “stop-off point” for the boneless chicken products from the South that are shipped into Canada, Ms. Schermerhorn said. Truckloads of poultry products delivered to the facility are certified by a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector before they are trucked to Canadian markets.

“We’re a voluntary export inspection facility for clients that order products from plants directly,” she said. “We get 1,000 boxes of chicken per trailer. We offload it, unwrap it, and a USDA inspector looks at it and puts an inspection sticker on each box.”

The company, which acquired a $200,000 loan this year from the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency to put toward the purchase of its building, plans to use its expanded space in a variety of new ways, Ms. Schermerhorn said.

While inspections for exported products will continue to be the company’s niche, she said, it plans soon to obtain USDA certification needed to import products from suppliers and repackage them. The company has applied to obtain processing and import permits for its new repackaging operation, which is expected to create five to 10 jobs.

“We’ll soon be importing chicken with minimal processing and repackaging,” she said.

Though Midway now only does export inspections for boneless chicken breast, Ms. Schermerhorn said, it now has space available to possibly do inspections for pork and beef products. She added that an increasing number of trucks will soon be delivering poultry products to the facility.

“We’ve handled 1,127 trucks in the two years Midway has been open, and in the coming year we hope to do at least 1,000,” she said. “And if we expand into pork or beef, we could triple that amount of traffic.”

By Ted Booker, Times Staff Writer