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Food company breaks ground on new plant
November 10, 2011 Jerry Purvis   
With a Nov. 3 ground breaking, KYS Foods and Cayenne, LLC started down the road toward opening its new plant in Scottsbluff.

The San Francisco based company is building a new $4.2 million dollar plant at the Western Nebraska Regional Airport and is scheduled to open in June 2012. While construction goes on, the California operations will be scaled down and inventory built up to allow full transfer of operations to Nebraska by mid-2012.

KYS Foods, which produces Asian-style beef and pork jerky and sausages, wanted a location in the Midwest that was more central for distribution to both coasts and Canada, and had access to meat supplies.

KaiYen Mai, president of KYS Foods and Cayenne, LLC, said her company was leaving San Francisco because of rising costs. “All our utilities are increasing 10 or 20 percent,” she said.

“There are also state-mandated insurance costs that are really high.”
Mai added her company is a small operation located in what has grown into an upscale section of San Francisco. Consequently, she was unable to expand production with multiple shifts.

“They’re not very friendly to the type of business I’m in,” she said. “I wanted to be in a location that wanted our business and would welcome us. This area is very friendly toward food manufacturing.”

Raw meat is one of the biggest costs of KYS Foods, so a central location with easier access to markets will help the company save money.

Mai said the company would create at least 20 jobs locally and perhaps up to 30 jobs. Because they’re closing their San Francisco plant, no one will be transferring to the Scottsbluff facility. More employees might be added with the addition of a second shift.

Mai said that once they have their new plant open, they will be able to produce products that could be branded by other retail companies. She also has a long-term goal of creating some new products for distribution under their own company name. Those new products could also be exported to Asian markets.

The company’s products are also available for online ordering at www.htyusa.com. The line includes beef and pork jerky, sausages and other Asian foods.

Eight communities were vying for the new KYS Foods plant, but Mai said she chose Scottsbluff because of the people and the incentives. Also, the developer indicated the facility could be built within the company’s budget.

In addition to local support, the state provided a $505,000 Community Development Block Grant to help acquire land and help with construction.
Mai’s mother started the company in Taiwan in 1967 and later moved production to San Francisco in 1979. Mai took over the operation in the late 1990s.

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