Chattanooga, Tennessee based Southern Champion Tray (SCT) plans to invest nearly $85 million in a new manufacturing plant in the Centre South Riverport Industrial Park, where it will create more than 120 jobs.

The 93-year-old independent converter, which manufactures paperboard packaging products including food sleeves, trays, and window boxes, already employs over 750, including more than 500 in Chattanooga. The new manufacturing facility will convert paperboard into packaging products. Construction will begin in early 2021 with completion expected by early 2022.

John Zeiser, SCT President and CEO said the company is purchasing a 56.4-acre tract to support the continued expansion of the company’s manufacturing operation. “We are bursting at the seams where we are, so we have to expand,” said Zeiser.”

Brian Hunt, the company’s COO, said the move is “a vote of confidence for every current SCT employee, as well as the 120 new employees that we will be adding.”

“After 93 years of continuous growth, we are excited to build another facility to support many more years of serving customers with great packaging and distinctive service,” he said.

SCT’s purchase of the property is subject to completion of due diligence which is expected to finish by early 2021, officials said.

“Tennessee’s economy will continue to rebound because companies continue to invest and create jobs in our state,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said in an announcement of the project. “Southern Champion Tray’s expansion will provide a boost to Hamilton County and surrounding areas, and I appreciate the company for choosing to grow in Tennessee.”

Earlier this summer, Southern Champion Tray acquired another longtime packaging company, Honeymoon Paper Products Inc., a 60-year-old business based in Fairfield, Ohio. Honeymoon is a packaging provider to supermarket and retail bakeries and wholesale companies. It employs about 150 people. According to SCT, it was to integrate that company’s catalog of items into its offerings.

Zeiser said then that the acquisition made a lot of sense for Southern Champion and Honeymoon customers as the deal expanded the breadth of its product line and scope of its manufacturing capabilities.

With its new plant, SCT will have four facilities in Chattanooga, with its headquarters located at 220 Compress St. off Manufacturers Road.

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