KINGSLAND — Foodie’J, a company that produces high quality egg rolls for Asian restaurants throughout the Southeast, is opening a manufacturing facility in Kingsland.
The business owners, Xiao Lei Jaing and Weiyi Xu, said they targeted Camden County because of its proximity to Interstate 95 and the area’s low cost of living.
Prior to their decision, the owners met with Camden County Joint Development Authority officials to determine if they were eligible for a traditional incentive package, but were told their company was too small to meet the guidelines.
Authority director James Coughlin said he was impressed with the fact the men were investing $700,000 of their own money into the venture. He agreed to pursue non-traditional funding methods to help them remodel property to meet their manufacturing needs.
“I knew of a new revolving loan program the Southeast Georgia Joint Development Authority had just initiated,” Coughlin said.
The funds are not from taxpayer dollars but from revenue paid by Norfolk Southern Railroad to lease a section of rail owned by the Southeast Georgia Joint Development Authority. The fund is intended to expand economic development in Coastal Georgia.
Working with the regional authority and the Camden County Joint Development Authority, the company was successful in securing the loan that will permit it to begin working on the Kingsland building immediately.
The Foodie’J company has more than 15 years in the Chinese restaurant business. The owners said they are starting the company because of a major weakness in the U.S. market.
“With so many restaurants here, there are only two manufacturers of pre-made egg rolls in the United States”, Jiang said. “So most restaurants make their own, which is costly and time consuming.”
The owners researched the Asian restaurant market in the Southeast and believe there is high interest in their product.
The facility will only employ 15 people at first but it adds diversity to the local economy, Coughlin said.
“This is not a major job producer and the authority has invested time and contacts rather than incentive packages, but it is an excellent example of the kind of development we want to see with major investment on the part of owners and creativity in the way we can help bring it to fruition,” he said.
Kingsland City Manager Lee Spell said he was very pleased with Foodie’J’s decision to make its home in Kingsland.
“We are always happy when new jobs come to Kingsland, and the unique market for Foodie’J’s product allows many opportunities for them to grow,” he said. “I believe that Foodie’J will be an excellent addition to Kingsland’s economic community, and we look forward to working with them.”