Springdale-based Whitbeck Laboratories will soon have a new $1 million home, one that is nearly double the size of its existing facility and may help add up to 10 jobs in the next few years.
The company plans to open the new 7,500 square-foot facility this summer. It will be in the Springdale Technology Park at Huntsville Avenue and Kawneer Drive.
Whitbeck Laboratories offers laboratory services for the food and poultry industries, as well as diagnostic services for local veterinarians. The company works with food industry research and development companies, providing facilities and testing for product innovations and global consulting services, according to a press release from the Springdale Chamber of Commerce.
The company, founded in 1978 by Gordon Whitbeck, who continues as president/microbiologist, will build its new facility on a two-acre plot it purchased from the Public Facilities Authority. C.R. Crawford Construction has been hired to construct the facility. Whitbeck Labs is funding their project via a bank loan from Arvest, he said.
This will be the first time Whitbeck Laboratories has owned its facility, as they’ve always had to lease and retrofit existing buildings, Whitbeck said.
“This new building will give us room to work more efficiently. It will give us space we critically need to better serve our customers,” he said. “With the dramatic increase in food safety regulations and policies by federal regulators and food producers, we have seen a significant increase in the demand for the services our lab offers. Food safety is of the utmost concern for anyone in the food business. Our independent lab is a leading provider of on-time testing for many of the world’s largest food producers.”
Besides expanding their laboratory services capabilities, the new facility will allow Whitbeck Laboratories to host training seminars required by the National Poultry Improvement Program, according to the press release. Three such training centers in the United States are open but are not convenient for all users, and the high volume of usage has become taxing. The new Springdale lab will ease that strain and provide quality training in a more centrally-located area compared to the other facilities, Whitbeck said.
Besides expanding services, the new facility is also expected to have a local economic impact. The company employs 19 people, six of whom were added in just the last couple of years. They hope to hire five to 10 additional employees over time because of this larger facility, Whitbeck said.
Bill Rogers, vice president for communications and special projects at the Springdale Chamber of Commerce, said the new Whitbeck facility is a good addition to the technology park.
“The addition of Whitbeck Labs to our technology park is just the latest example of how Springdale is a regional leader in innovation,” Rogers said. NanoMech, a true world leader in nanotechnology research, was our first tech park tenant. They’ve expanded twice and have plans for continued growth. Whitbeck Labs is a homegrown company that is meeting a significant demand in our country. We are privileged they’ve chosen to build their new testing center here.”