New York-based ACME Smoked Fish is looking at additional hires and a possible footprint expansion project in 2019.
ACME could add about 7,000 square feet of space to its original building for employee areas, including break rooms, bathrooms, uniform rooms and service areas, said Felipe Espinosa, director of manufacturing at ACME.
The company processes specialty food products with its primary product being cold smoked salmon.
Espinosa said that because of an increase in its workforce, the company needs more space for its employees.
The company recently hired 40 employees this year in relation to an expansion of its production. On July 31, ACME began running its sixth slicing and packaging line at the facility, an investment that was about $500,000 for machinery, equipment and installation, he said.
The company also recently began a second shift at the facility to run one of its lines.
Espinosa said the main portion of the new hires was because of the addition of the second shift.
ACME’s production was at 4.6 million pounds of packaged fish in 2016, 5.8 million pounds in 2017, and this year, Espinosa said the company estimates production will rise to 7.4 million pounds of finished goods with the added shift and a rise in demand.
“The demand is increasing, and I think we have a great product as well,” he said.
Next year, ACME is planning to add a sixth smoke oven and bring in “other equipment associated with that … to increase our capacity,” he said.
“I think 2019 is going to be significant growth as well. We have to work on the number, but I anticipate the number to be around 15 to 20 additional jobs,” Espinosa said of the employee base needed for the company with the additional operations.
And those additions could come with an increase in its footprint at ACME’s 20-acre site inside the Pender Commerce Park off U.S. 421.
ACME is planning to build on the front side of its building, he said. “It's being discussed. But we are very advanced. We are contacting companies to get quotes and estimates on that,” Espinosa said.
Additionally, there are talks of expanding the facility’s cold storage for raw material, he said. An evaluation is also being conducted to look into some of the other available spaces in the area, including the cold storage facility at the Port of Wilmington.