YORKVILLE – McLane Foodservice celebrated a 110,000-square-foot expansion and about 100 new jobs added over the last year with a cookout and appearance by Gov. Scott Walker Wednesday.

For the past 15 months, the food distribution company has added more space for dry and frozen foods at its Yorkville center, General Manager Brian Kulak said. As a result, about 100 new jobs have been added at the building, 1906 Grandview Parkway, with the company looking to add another two to three dozen new hires soon, Kulak said.

Work on the expansion is expected to wrap up next month, according to a news release from the governor’s office. The project got tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and support from the Racine County Economic Development Corp., the news release stated.

Yorkville employees also celebrated their “President’s Cup” victory, a competition within the McLane Foodservice network recognizing high-performing distribution centers. The Texas-based company has 80 distribution centers throughout the country.

"We've got a great group of (employees) here that really make all this possible and they do just a phenomenal job for us,” Kulak said.

The Yorkville distribution center services national restaurant chains such as Pizza Hut and Taco Bell and many others in the upper Midwest, according to the news release. Its drivers deliver more than 19 million cases of product per year.

Walker touts business climate

Walker, who is running for re-election this fall, highlighted the expansion as “part of a trend we’ve seen around the state” of the state’s business climate rebounding from the recession.

“It’s just the sort of growth that we want to see here and around the state of Wisconsin,” Walker told reporters after a short speech to McLane employees. “Certainly, it falls into our goal to help the people of the state create more jobs and build a better economy.”

Without mentioning by name his likely Democratic opponent, Mary Burke, Walker told McLane employees “we’re better off today than we were four years ago,” pointing to declining unemployment rates, tax cuts and other accomplishments in his first term.

Democrats have heavily criticized the state’s job growth under Walker, noting data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing the state ranked 35th in job growth over the last three years and last among 10 Midwest states.

“Walker inherited a recovering economy, but his nearsighted approach to economic policy kneecapped our economy and turned it around to dead last in the Midwest,” state Democratic Party spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said in a news release Wednesday.

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