Big plans for new distribution center
Those passing by east Locust Street in Fairbury may wonder what the big new white building across from the grain elevator is all about.
It is the new distribution and canning facility for Steidinger Foods. The company needed additional space, according to owner Brad Steidinger. This approximately 20,000 square foot building allows for more distribution, additional freezer space and streamlining.
Another aspect of the facility some may not yet know about includes non-profit meat canning to benefit third world countries, food pantry distribution and disaster relief.
“There is a huge demand for canned meat,” Steidinger said during a presentation to the Fairbury Rotary Club this week.
Steidinger will work closely with Midwest Food Bank as crews of volunteers will come to Fairbury to help can. Since the shelf life of these products is indefinite, the product will benefit the less fortunate countries with lack of refrigeration. The need for protein in these areas is great, according to Steidinger.
Several people are expected to oversee the project and provide training for volunteers. Although numbers could fluctuate, volunteer groups of up to 25-30 would be the most in there at one time. Teams coming in from across the country to do the mission work in Fairbury would stay in town at a building Steidinger has purchased.
Although construction on the outside of the building is basically complete, work continues on the inside which should be ready by later in the year.
Steidinger Foods has a reach much greater than Fairbury and much greater than Illinois, actually. The company sells brands at the national level with a retail focus on the upper Midwest.
“We supply just about every grocery store in the area,” explained Steidinger.
The Steidinger family had the Forrest locker for a long time and later bought the former Fosdick poultry plant in Fairbury. In 2009, they acquired the Bird Farm brand and purchased Seitz in 2016. Bird Farm Italian is the number one sausage item they sell.
“Kansas City is a good market for us,” noted Steidinger.
Construction planning began in 2019 for the new distribution and canning facility. Canned meat was the next business venture for Steidinger Foods when they purchased Grabill Country Meats in Grabill, Indiana.