Frozen sushi company to hire 300 in Granville County

A small local company that prepares and packages frozen sushi plans to hire 305 workers in Granville County.

RiceWrap Foods Corp. could receive $3 million in state and local financial incentives for the operation.

A state commerce committee on Thursday approved a Job Development Investment Grant for the project of up to $1.9 million over 12 years. Other state funding comes from a community college training fund ($270,000), the Golden Leaf Foundation ($200,000) and a building renovation fund ($250,000). The remainder comes from Granville County ($300,000) and the Town of Butner ($130,000).

The incentives are based on creating jobs over a three-year period beginning this year, as the company reaches full production capacity of operating three shifts.

The average annual wage for employees is expected to be about $40,000. That is more than the $38,000 average in Granville County.

The agreement between the company and the state requires as much as $632,000 be moved into a utility account that helps rural communities pay to improve infrastructure to attract future business.

RiceWrap says it will make a capital investment of $10 million by the end of 2019, which includes $1.7 million in construction and improvements.

RiceWrap, which now has a two-person operation in Raleigh, uses a proprietary technique to prepare the rice, followed by shaping, freezing and packaging. It sells its product at stores such as Whole Foods, and to food service management companies such as Compass Group based in Charlotte.

Bumble Bee Seafoods provides tuna and salmon for retail sushi boxes and “mega-packs” for the food service sector.

RiceWrap is aiming to put its sushi in more than 8,000 grocery stores during its first year of full operations.

The business was started by father and son Richard and Kyle Cronk about six years ago. Founder Richard Cronk and his wife built a house in Granville County 40 years ago.

“RiceWrap Foods offers our employees flexible, family-oriented employment schedules,” Kyle Cronk, vice president of operations for the company, said in a statement released by Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration. “We look forward to producing our product with the talented Granville County workforce as our company continues its rapid growth.”

The company chose North Carolina over Virginia, which had offered an incentives package of about $3.4 million.

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO