Litehouse Foods Holds Grand Opening

litehouse grand opening
Governor Gary Herbert participates in the dressing pour at Litehouse Foods grand opening. | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

HURRICANE – “We’re very excited to be a part of the community of the Hurricane Valley and Southern Utah,” John Shaw, the Operations Director for Litehouse Foods, said as he welcomed invited guests and media to the grand opening of his company’s newest facility in Hurricane, Utah on May 4.

Based out of Sandpoint, Idaho, with an additional facility in Lowell, Mich., Litehouse Foods is a large-scale producer of salad dressings, dips, and related products which are sold throughout the United States, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

Among the attendees were Representatives Brad Last, Don Ipson, and David Clark, as well as members of the Hurricane Valley Chamber of Commerce, who gathered to hear Litehouse Foods President and CEO Jim Frank and Governor Gary Herbert.

After Shaw’s welcoming words, an invocation was given by Pastor Rick Nerud of Calvary Chapel in St. George. Shaw then went on to recognize and thank everyone involved in making Litehouse’s opening in Utah possible.

Jim Frank followed and continued to thank those who had been a part of the project. He recalled that, just 16 weeks earlier, the building was completely empty. Originally designed as a storage facility, Litehouse personnel and local contractors put in many hours to turn a hollow shell into a building worthy of bearing the Litehouse name. Frank and many others consider the rapid transformation to be nothing less than a miracle.

“What brought us to Utah?” Frank said, “We needed to be in the Southwest.”

The idea to look into Utah, however, came from a business associate who kept a vacation home in St. George and loved the area. Utah’s pro-business environment and its economic incentives offered to new businesses didn’t hurt either.

“[Governor Herbert] has an incredible team when it comes to economics,” Frank continued, and again praised Governor Herbert, his staff, and the Economic Development Corporation of Utah for their help in making Litehouse Food’s new facility a reality.

Mayor Tom Hirschi of Hurricane addressed the crowd next.

“These folks have been wonderful to work with,” Hirschi said. “We welcome Litehouse to our wonderful valley and we wish them luck.”

Governor Herbert spoke next, and voiced his appreciation for the standards Litehouse Foods strives to keep. These standards are collected in what the company calls its “Guiding Principles.” Those principles are faith, stewardship, integrity, commitment to excellence, and accountability. As a constant reminder of this standard, it is printed on the business cards used by Litehouse employees.

Herbert compared the history of Lighthouse Foods to that of Utah, remarking that both used the “same formula.”

Founded in 1858 by Edward Hawkins, Litehouse Foods was originally a restaurant. In 1963, however, the business turned to the production and distribution of salad dressing. This was largely thanks to a Bleu Cheese recipe Hawkins had created. People couldn’t get enough of it. Along with Ranch, Bleu Cheese remains one of the company’s top selling flavors.

“A recipe, a prayer, and hard work,” Herbert said. That is what led to Litehouse Foods’ success. He then applied those same principles to the pioneers who came to Utah with a plan, a prayer, and great deal of hard work ahead of them. Their labor allowed the desert to blossom. And now that Litehouse has come to the southern Utah, Herbert declares that it is “a new blossom in Utah’s Dixie.”

“This is a great day for us, a great day for Utah, and a great day for Litehouse Foods,” Herbert concluded.

Originally billed as a ribbon cutting, the people of Litehouse had a different take on how to it should be done. Instead of handing over an oversized pair of scissors, a large bowl of salad was presented along with a five-gallon bucket filled with dressing.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been to a dressing pour,” Herbert laughed.

The grand opening of Litehouse Foods’ newest facility then concluded with the Governor pouring a healthy helping of dressing onto the salad.

Production at the new building is scheduled to begin on May 16.

Copyright St. George News

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4 Comments

  • chris busch May 6, 2011 at 8:27 am

    it is wonderful to have therm here. welcome to Hurricane. FYI: Mexico is part of North America.

  • CAlldredge May 9, 2011 at 7:57 am

    So did anyone ever find out why they did not hire as many locals as they said they were going to? They actually moved employees from other locations? I had emailed the Mayor of Hurricane on this and he said that he had no idea this was being done and that he would check into it. Apparently no one but me was concerned that they toted many jobs would be filled by residence of Washington County and then that did not happen. That was one of the main reasons that they got the tax rebates.

    • Kelly Prior, EVP/CFO May 9, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      Litehouse continues to be committed to its original plan as outlined with Washington County and the State of Utah. Our manufacturing facility expects to be open on May 16th, 2011 and should employ a total of approximately 100 employees by the end of summer. These employees will be hired as the plant ramps up production between now and the end of August. All interested employment candidates can apply online at http://www.litehousefoods.com.

    • Jen Watkins May 9, 2011 at 6:56 pm

      This is news to me and I will check into it

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