The Economic Impacts of the New Chobani Yogurt Factory


By Aimee Burnett

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) After months of preparations and anticipation the grand opening of the Chobani yogurt factory has arrived.

The opening is really just phase one of a multi–phase process.

The economical impacts have been evident for some time now and we can expect the ripple effect to continue in the days, months and years that follow.

More than 2,000 workers put in over 1.7 million hours to bring the one million-square foot plant to life.

"Many of those workers were subcontractors from the region, so it's had an immediate impact," said Jan Rogers, Executive Director, SIEDO.

The latest report from the Idaho Department of Labor shows Chobani hired close to 350 employees and we can expect two hundred plus jobs in the recent future.

Last year at this time the unemployment rate in Twin Falls was 8.1 percent, now it's 6.6 percent.

"We can directly attribute that to Chobani," said Jan Roeser, Idaho Department of Labor.

Chobani broke ground here in Twin Falls on December 19th of last year, construction began in January and in less than a year it became the home of the world's largest yogurt manufacturing plant.

"I would say that there are probably not too many communities in the U.S. that could walk hand–in–hand in tandem with a company like Chobani to build this one–million square foot plant in ten months," said Rogers.

It was May 2011 when city leaders first learned a yogurt manufacturing plant was looking at Twin Falls.

"We told the city manager and the city team go get it and we'd back them up as best we can," said Mayor Greg Lanting, City of Twin Falls.

The mayor is now putting together a team to examine the infrastructure of the city, so that if and when another company wants to come in the city is ready.

"If it's a bond or whatever it may take then we can make expansions where needed to allow additional growth in the Magic Valley," said Mayor Lanting.

The state-o- the-art facility was built in 326 days, which is unprecedented, putting southern Idaho on the map in a way it has never been before.

Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya says it was the can do attitude of not only the local community, but Idaho as a whole that made this happen on a tight timeline.

The attitude of how can we make this work and not it can't work.

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