Governor Cooper Announces 305 New Jobs in Granville County Innovative Sushi Rice Producer RiceWrap Foods to Scale Up Operations with $9.9 Million Investment in Butner


RiceWrap Foods Corporation, a food manufacturer with a unique, patent-pending method of producing and delivering rice for sushi, will create 305 new jobs in Granville County, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest $9.9 million in Butner to locate a production facility.

“Finding a creative way to solve a problem can spark a new business and create new jobs,” Gov. Cooper said. “Our friendly business climate and dependable workforce give innovative companies like RiceWrap Foods all the ingredients they need to succeed.”

RiceWrap Foods Corporation, founded by father and son Richard and Kyle Cronk, has invented a product that solves the challenge of consistent preparation of sushi rice in the food service industry. Rice is a key ingredient for the Japanese dish and true Japanese-trained sushi chefs spend five years learning the intricacies of making the rice. The Cronks created a method to produce frozen sushi rice sheets that can easily be thawed while retaining a consistent and outstanding flavor and texture, ready to roll in just minutes. The company’s clients include the grocery chains Whole Foods and Lunds & Byerly’s, as well as a variety of colleges and universities, hotels and caterers. 

RiceWrap recently attracted a strategic investment from Bumble Bee Seafoods, the well-known national brand of tuna. The partnership with this industry leader in sustainable seafood products will support the operational expansion.

“My wife and I built our first house in Granville County 40 years ago, and started our family here,” said Richard Cronk, Chairman and CEO of RiceWrap Foods. “We deeply appreciate the strong support from our community and from the Governor's Office, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Granville County and the Town of Butner.  We also appreciate the strong support from the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center.”

“RiceWrap Foods offers our employees flexible, family-oriented employment schedules,” said Kyle Cronk, Vice President of Operations for the company. “We look forward to producing our product with the talented Granville County workforce as our company continues its rapid growth.” 

RiceWrap Foods will add a variety of job functions with this expansion, including production operators, logistics and sales personnel, and managers. Salaries for the new positions will average $40,005, which is higher than the current Granville County average wage of $38,857.

“Innovation takes many forms and a good idea can transform any industry, from software and biotechnology to food production,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “We congratulate Rice Wrap Foods for bringing unique products to the market and good jobs to Granville County.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. (EDPNC) led the state’s support for the company’s expansion.

RiceWrap Food Corporation’s location into Granville County will be facilitated in part by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project will grow the state’s economy by an estimated $514 million. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $1,896,000, spread over 12 years. State payments only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.

Because RiceWrap Foods chose to locate in Granville County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 3, the company’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving as much as $632,000 into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. The Utility Account helps rural communities finance necessary infrastructure upgrades to attract future business. When new jobs are created in a Tier 3 county such as Granville, the new tax revenue generated through JDIG grants helps more economically challenged communities elsewhere in the state. More information on the state’s economic tier designations is available here.

“We welcome RiceWrap Foods and their innovative products to Granville County,” said N.C. Representative Larry Yarborough. “This investment will bring many good jobs to our community.”

“Many economic development partners worked together to bring this investment to Butner,” said N.C. Senator Floyd McKissick, Jr. “These community partners will continue to collaborate with RiceWrap Foods to help the company succeed now and for many years to come.”

Partnering with N.C. Commerce and the EDPNC on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Duke Energy, Granville County, the Town of Butner, and the Granville County Economic Development Commission.