September 16, 2008

Laurel Cookie Factory makes nationally branded goodies

Local factory turns out many tasty treats

Many of the brand name cookies, crackers and granola bars that are enjoyed all over the United States are made right here in London at the Laurel Cookie Factory on South Laurel Road.

“Our products include wirecut cookies, such as chocolate chip, sandwich creme cookies, mini-cookies, animal crackers, granola bars, snack crackers and chocolate covered items,” Plant Manager Carey Koplowitz said.

Each of six ovens has the flexibility to produce a number of different products, he said. Packaging options include bulk, many different size bags from a half ounce to a pound, overwrapped trays, u-boards similar to candy bar packaging, club packs and wrapped items in retail cartons. There are more than 60 baggers and wrappers, some of which can produce 120 or more packages per minute.

The flour, sugar, corn syrup, chocolate and most of the shortening is received in bulk tank trucks and is automatically delivered to the mixers, which are capable of producing batches up to 2,500 pounds. The other ingredients are weighed and added by hand. The Laurel Cookie Factoryrecently installed a new sugar silo, grinder and delivery system to allow them to produce their own powdered sugar which is used for creme fillings.

“We are in the co-pack and private label business; that is, we produce for national brands and grocery store labels,” Koplowitz said. “The cookie and cracker market in the United States is over $7 billion annually.”

Laurel Cookie Factory, which is owned by Consolidated Biscuit Company in McComb, Ohio, produces many of the nationally branded items available in every grocery and convenience store.

“This business requires a great deal of flexibility,” Koplowitz explained. “Short runs and effective line changeovers are the key to meeting our customer’s demanding schedules. Both current and potential customers are continually developing new items and we have the creativity and innovation to meet their needs. Much of the time when a new item or process is being developed, we find we don’t have a machine capable of performing the task. Then we have to use our ingenuity to adopt something we have or build something new from scratch, usually under the pressure of a looming deadline.”

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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