By Twyla Hayes
The Rockford Chamber of Commerce held their annual banquet on Monday evening, October 7, 2019, The Fremont Company was named Business of the Year.
The Fremont Company History:
The Rockford Plant was established in 1924 by A.L. Sharp and was named Sharp Canning Company. Its main product was canned tomatoes, and ketchup was the by-product. In 1961 the Sharp family sold the company to The Fremont Company based in Fremont Ohio.
The Fremont Company was established in 1905 as the Fremont Kraut Company by the Slessman family. Today, Chris Smith is the fourth generation owner and current president of the Company. Over the years, the plant focus changed to ketchup and BBQ sauce.
The Rockford plant produces products for private labels and also Co-Packs for several National Labels. Today the plant exports product to 60 foreign countries.
In 1999 an ice storm badly damaged the building. At that time the Company undertook the challenge of replacing all of the remaining older buildings while still maintaining production. This extensive project lasted three years and left the company with an efficient and modern production equipment and facility. In 2018 they started a major expansion project. The $27 million dollar project more than doubled the plant size and production capacity. The Rockford plant currently has 155 full time employees under Plant Manager, Ken Pond and Assistant Manager, Tyler Westgerdes.
The Fremont Company is active in the community with donations from the employees and company. They have helped fund the Rockford Ministerial Association and the Parkway Schools lunch program for students in need. The Company also donates product to the Western Ohio Food Bank and other food banks in the area.