ALBANY, New York — New York-based Hudson River Foods recently acquired Hodgson Mill, moving the Effingham company's operations out of state.
Health food maker Hudson River Foods acquired Hodgson Mill about three weeks ago, a spokesperson for Hudson River Foods said Tuesday. Hodgson Mill was a family-owned company that has grown into a national leader in whole grain and high-quality gluten-free products such as flours, cereals, baking mixes, quinoa, rice and pasta.
Hudson River Foods Chief Operating Officer Donna Ratner said the company made a 100 percent buyout of Hodgson Mill brand of baking mixes and flours. The production has been moved to Hudson River Foods manufacturing plant in the Village of Castle-on-Hudson, New York.
“The brand will stay in tact,” said Ratner. “Nothing will change with the Hodgson Mill name or branding.”
Norma Lansing, president and CEO of the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce, said, “We are saddened that Hodgson Mill is no longer in this community, but we remain optimistic for the building that someone will come along and put it back into use.”
The company's website had listed its workforce at more than 140. At last count, Hodgson Mill had 30 employees, Lansing said.
The production facility, located in Effingham Business Park at 1100 Stevens Avenue, and the company's red roof, log cabin-style mercantile, located at 1001 Ford Ave., both closed in late fall or early winter, Lansing said. The mercantile had hosted the Winter Farmers Market as late as March.
“When a closure like that happens, we remain hopeful that the building will be put back into use and provide some jobs for our residents,” said Lansing.
Effingham Mayor Mike Schutzbach said the effort to find a new owner for the processing facility is on the city's radar.
“Our economic development team recognizes the importance of keeping businesses and employment flourishing and is continually charged with the responsibility of searching for opportunities to better serve the citizens of Effingham,” he said.
Nobody from Hodgson Mill could be reached for comment and company officials did not respond to emails.
Ratner said none of the Effingham employees were interested in relocating to New York.
The 174,453-square-foot production facility, built in 2000, is listed for sale by Newmark Grubb Zimmer in St. Louis for $6.85 million. It went on the market in October 2018.
The 8,608-square-foot mercantile store, built in 2013, is also for sale, but the sale price wasn't on the Newmark Grubb Zimmer listing.
Hodgson Mill customer Richard Keller of Western Springs, Illinois, was disheartened to learn his favorite products were getting more and more difficult to find. But he was pleased to learn production would be continuing under Hudson River's operations.
“I was finding there was no way to reach them,” said Keller. “Their phone service line was not working and emails were going unanswered.”
He's been purchasing Hodgson Mill products for about 15 years.
Hudson River Foods was formerly called Healthy Brands Collective. In 2017, it moved its headquarters and manufacturing to Castle-on-Hudson, New York, in a new state-of-the-art, 100,000-square-foot facility on the Hudson River. The move was to replace an outdated facility.
Dawn Schabbing can be reached at email@example.com or 217-347-7151, ext. 138