Industrial production of hard cheeses.

(The Center Square) – Another company is expanding its business to Texas. Great Lakes Cheese of Hiram, Ohio, is establishing a new packaging and distribution facility in Abilene, Texas. The project will create more than 500 new jobs and represents almost $185 million in capital investment.

The company, a manufacturer and packager of natural and processed bulk, shredded and sliced cheeses, received a Texas Enterprise Fund grant of $3 million to move its facility to Texas.

"We are proud to welcome Great Lakes Cheese to the state of Texas, and we are excited for the impact that this company will have on Abilene's economic success," Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. "Great Lakes Cheese joins the ranks of thousands of companies that have chosen to invest in the Lone Star State. Our model of low taxes, reasonable regulations, and incredible workforce continue to attract investments that keep Texas the best state for business."

As Great Lakes Cheese continues to expand and as delivery needs grew, it said it has strategically placed plants to ensure its cheeses arrive fresh and on time.

“Great Lakes Cheese is a family business built on the values of hard work, honesty, and integrity," its CEO Dan Zagzebski said. “These values continue to support our long-term growth in the dairy industry, and help us identify the employee-owners, customers, suppliers, and communities that align with our culture. We feel fortunate to have found that fit with Abilene, and are proud to welcome Texans into our Great Lakes Cheese Family.”

The company supplies 25 percent of all packaged cheese consumed in America. Its eight plants operate in five states, supplying cheese coast to coast. The company’s Aged Cheddar, Mozzarella, Provolone and Blue-Veined cheeses have won over 180 awards in the last 25 years.

Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams said this is the biggest opportunity recruited to the city of Abilene in the past 30 years “and is the perfect example of what strategic economic development should be.”

Misty Mayo, president and Chief Executive Officer of the Development Corporation of Abilene, said the project is critical for Abilene’s future. The economic impact study commissioned by the corporation projects that Great Lakes Cheese will make a $1.3 billion impact over the next 10 years to Abilene and the region.