The Farmington-based trucking comany is diversifying to provide warehouse service for its customers

MANCHESTER — A large manufacturing facility that once housed a cabbage processing operation has a new owner, and new hope for growth in the future.

Farmington-based Leonard’s Express in July bought the former GLK Foods manufacturing and warehouse facility on Clark Street and has converted a portion of the building into warehouse space for food- and beverage-grade products, according to Michael Riccio, who is chief marketing officer for Leonard’s Express.

“Some of our customers are looking for warehouse service,” Riccio said. “We’re growing and trying to diversify.”

And after concerns about the impact on town and village residents were addressed, the company is being welcomed with open arms, according to Manchester Supervisor Jeff Gallahan.

Gallahan said he is excited about the potential for growth, as well as the company’s willingness to work with neighbors and government officials.

“Everything they’ve been asked to do, they’ve done,” Gallahan said. “It’s refreshing to have them come to town. They’re a great fit.”

The company is poised to grow here.

Company CEO Ken Johnson said the facility provides greater flexibility in meeting customer needs.

“This is the first step in our long-term plan to grow the warehousing portion of our service offerings,” Johnson said in a prepared statement.

GLK Foods announced it was closing the more than 100-year-old business — it was formerly known as Great Lakes Kraut — in early 2018 to expand at its Bear Creek plant in Wisconsin.

“It was a big shock to everybody in the community,” Gallahan said.

At the time, anywhere from 25 to 40 employees were estimated to be affected by the plant’s closure.

Leonard’s Trucking has not added more employees, but that may change with business growth. The focus in recent weeks has been on refurbishing the former manufacturing space to meet its needs as well as begin the new operation, Riccio said.

“They’ve put in a ton of money,” Gallahan said.

The family-owned Leonard’s Trucking provides rail, flatbed, truckload and temperature-controlled transportation services and employs more than 540 people in 19 locations throughout the country.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have GLK anymore,” Gallahan said. “Fortunately, we have Leonard's Trucking Company.”