Sunrider to break ground on new facility

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror

The long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony for Sunrider International’s new manufacturing facility will take place this Friday morning at 11 a.m. in the Midlothian Business Park at 3091 Challenger Drive.

Work on the facility is expected to be complete by the middle of 2022. The facility will eventually encompass about one million square feet in size at an investment of about $56 million, and will employ at least 210.

The Midlothian City Council approved the Midlothian Economic Development Corporation’s sale of land to Sunrider’s real estate arm, Earth Root Holdings LLC, in late March. Kyle Kinateder, president and CEO of the MEDC, said Sunrider will be the first tenant in Midlothian Business Park.

The City Council approved a tax abatement for Sunrider last month, and the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court awarded its own abatement shortly afterward. Both the county and city will give a 55-percent abatement of the new added value on the company’s real and personal property tax bill, including machinery and equipment but excluding inventory, provided the company meet certain goals.

“It truly is a partnership,” Kinateder said of the abatement. “It has some benefits that go to the company, but there are immediate direct benefits that come to the county and benefit all county residents.”

Eric Chen, president of the manufacturing division of Sunrider, said his company has been in business since 1982, when it was founded in Provo, Utah by his parents. In 1986 the company moved to California, where it has been headquartered since.

Chen said his company does business in more than 50 countries and manufactures more than 400 health, wellness and beauty products, all produced at the company’s facility in Torrance, Calif. Among Sunrider’s products are nutritional supplements, herbal beverages, weight management products, vitamins, and personal household care products.

Chen said his company wants to build a similar facility in Midlothian. He also said his company’s manufacturing is done in the U.S. in order to ensure quality and oversight of its products.

“Everything we do is in our Los Angeles facility,” Chen said. “We have three other facilities in Asia, (but) they only supply products for those markets. We make all of our base material here … and they will package it over there. It’s kind of the reverse of what you see.”

When it opens, the Midlothian facility will employ a wide variety of workers, Chen said: research and development, machine operators, line workers, quality control, financial and information technology.