Prepared-meal provider setting up shop in Lancaster
A California-based meal-kit company has picked East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, as the place to ramp up its East Coast operations.
Gobble Inc. is planning to begin food prep and order fulfillment operations in January at a facility at 2900 Old Tree Drive, near the Centerville Road exit off Route 30.
"We are excited to invest in the local Lancaster economy," Gobble founder and CEO Ooshma Garg said in a press release.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed the address via email.
Like Blue Apron, HelloFresh and similar services, Gobble delivers ready-to-cook meals and instructions designed to save time for busy consumers who might not have time to assemble the ingredients themselves.
The so-called meal-kit industry is generating an estimated $1 billion to $1.5 billion in sales, and is expected to continue growing, drawing interest from investors and established food companies.
Earlier this year, for example, New Jersey-based Campbell Soup Co. poured $10 million into meal-kit company Chef'd.
Founded in 2014, Gobble said it has raised more than $26 million in capital, including an infusion this fall of $15 million from Silicon Valley investment firms Khosla Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures and Initialized Capital.
As it prepares to launch in Lancaster, Gobble has been hosting job fairs, with a goal of opening with 65 employees and growing to 200 over the next 18 months, according to a press release from the company.
Two more job fairs are scheduled, both at the PA CareerLink center at 1016 N. Charlotte St. in Lancaster, for Dec. 13-15 and Jan. 3-5. The company said it is looking for people with experience in shipping and receiving, food preparation, and warehouse and assembly line operations.
Gobble, based in Palo Alto, Calif., also said it hopes to work with local produce growers and other vendors.
"We are pleased with the local talent pool, we are excited by the quality of this facility, and we are gratified by how easy it has been to work with local government and business leaders," Garg said in the press release. "We anticipate a long-term partnership with the local Lancaster community.”
One local leader also expressed enthusiasm.
"The opening of this facility will provide a nice boost to our local economy from a high-growth industry," John Biemiller, vice president of the Economic Development Co. of Lancaster County said in the release. "It is also good for Gobble: From here they can ship their high-quality perishable food across the entire Eastern seaboard, from Maine to Florida, in the shortest period of time."