VALMEYER — Sun Basket, a meal-kit distribution center in a massive underground cave known as Rock City, is being expanded, bringing with it the potential for up to 100 new jobs.
Together with Sun Basket leadership, local officials, and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Gov. Bruce Rauner today cut the ribbon on an expansion of the Monroe County center, which is a meal-kit service featuring organic produce and clean ingredients with dietitian-approved recipes delivered to customers’ doors.
“Sun Basket’s expansion in Illinois is stimulating regional and statewide economic growth,” Rauner said. “This is a great example of a quality company investing in the natural assets, talented workforce, and geographic advantage that Illinois provides. Their expansion will enable the company to deliver more healthy, quality meals across the country, and it will pay off in new jobs for the people of Illinois.”
Currently, the Sun Basket facility employs nearly 400 employees, 90 percent of whom are from Illinois. The company’s expansion will increase investment in the region by adding more than 100 new jobs. Sun Basket’s distribution network allows meal kit delivery to 98 percent of the continental U.S.
“Sun Basket is the latest company to recognize the potential Illinois offers businesses through our premium location and robust distribution network,” said Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy. “We are thrilled to have this great company expanding in Valmeyer.”
Admiral Parkway, the site developer, recently upgraded and retrofitted the cave for Sun Basket’s expansion. The natural cooling properties of the Rock City facility provide energy usage and cost savings, which aligns with Sun Basket’s company commitment to environmental sustainability.
“With the launch of this new facility, we now have the ability to support over $1B revenue and build the pre-eminent nationwide healthy meal kit service in the U.S.,” said Adam Zbar, CEO and co-founder of Sun Basket. “We were particularly excited in partnering with Rock City given its unique underground cave location adds to our focus on sustainability, which is a core part of our business model.”
New employees of the distribution center will reap the benefits of Sun Basket’s Employee Engagement Culture Program, which includes training classes, continuing education courses and weekly farmers markets that allow employees to take home surplus produce.
Beyond the economic impact, Sun Basket also has a significant charitable presence in the region. Each week, the company donates an average 1000 pounds of food to a number of food pantries, including the Hope Food Pantry of Monroe County.
PHOTO: In this image taken from a state-supplied video, Gov. Bruce Rauner, center, helps cut a ribbon Thursday at Sun Basket, a meal-kit distribution center expanding in the underground cave facility known as Rock City in the Monroe County town of Valmeyer.