August 1, 2019

Starbucks, an international coffee and coffeehouse brand, established a coffee roasting facility in Calhoun County, South Carolina, in 2007. The facility, constructed by Stellar Construction and Engineering, opened in 2009 and received silver LEED certification for its commitment to energy and water conservation. The plant utilizes recycled materials, energy-efficient fixtures, and wind energy for power. It receives beans via the Port of Charleston, roasts them, and distributes them to various centers. In 2009, due to cost-saving measures, the plant experienced cutbacks, resulting in job losses and changes in operations.

July 24, 2019

Food Engineering's 42nd annual Plant Construction Survey reveals that construction projects in the food and beverage industry are increasing due to federal tax breaks, industry consolidation, and a need for production flexibility. However, the fast-track schedules and a shortage of skilled labor pose challenges. The survey shows that the ratio of new projects to expansion/renovation projects has reversed, with a higher percentage of new projects in 2018. Warehousing and distribution center projects reached a 13-year high. The report also highlights the impact of the Trump administration's tax cuts and eased regulations on capital spending. The shortage of skilled labor, especially in trades like machinists and engineers, is a common problem faced by companies across different sectors. The survey emphasizes the importance of fast project deployment and controlling costs in the current market. The shortage of subcontractors and skilled labor is driving up costs and causing schedule delays.

July 24, 2019

Stellar, a global firm specializing in design, engineering, construction, and mechanical services, has successfully completed the expansion of the Starbucks Soluble Coffee Facility in Augusta. The $121 million project added 150,000 square feet to the existing building, effectively doubling its size to approximately 325,000 square feet. The expansion was driven by Starbucks' growth and consumer demand, incorporating six new whole bean roasters that enable the facility to produce up to 146.8 million pounds of coffee annually. Stellar's design improvements included a flexible layout and process, facilitating the seamless transfer of products from storage silos to packaging lines. The expansion also accounted for future growth by providing provisions for two additional packaging lines. The facility, operational since August 2014, is the first company-owned plant worldwide to manufacture Starbucks soluble products. It produces coffee for Starbucks VIA® Instant, Frappuccino® blended beverages, and various bottled and canned Starbucks beverages. Stellar commended the partnership with Starbucks, emphasizing the plant's state-of-the-art nature and its alignment with Starbucks' commitment to innovation, sustainability, and delivering high-quality products.

July 24, 2019

Royal Cup Coffee and Tea, founded in 1896, has undergone significant transformations over the years. From selling coffee from a horse and wagon to becoming a thriving business today, the company has a rich history. Billy Smith, the current CEO and grandson of the original owner, has led the company's growth. They recently completed a major project that includes expanding their facilities, enhancing storage capabilities, and implementing cutting-edge innovations like automated scanning and advanced control systems. The project received the Manufacturing Innovator of the Year award in 2019. With the new improvements, Royal Cup can efficiently handle and track inventory, ensuring product quality and safety. They have also focused on improving traceability, integrating their processes with advanced systems, and investing in sustainability measures. The company serves various markets, including foodservice, office coffee, convenience stores, and contract manufacturing. Their product range includes coffee, tea, and ready-to-drink beverages. Royal Cup continues to evolve and meet the changing demands of consumers.

July 24, 2019

Royal Cup Coffee and Tea, based in Birmingham, Alabama, underwent a transformation in its business operations and required a new facility to accommodate its growing production needs. In 2013, the company selected Stellar, an engineering and construction firm with expertise in building coffee plants, to design and construct the facility. Cross-functional teams from Royal Cup collaborated with Stellar in workshops to define their objectives for the project. By choosing the design-build approach, Royal Cup was able to keep its operations on the existing site and utilize available properties nearby for expansion. This flexibility allowed them to continue operating while designing and constructing new sections of the plant. The project's final cost was $49.1 million, significantly less than the initial estimate.

July 24, 2019

Jacksonville, Florida, has been recognized as a "Rising Superstar" in the multifamily market by Multi-Housing News. The city's growing job market, increasing rental rates, and ample affordable land for development have contributed to its expanding multifamily industry. To successfully invest in this sector, choosing the right general contractor is crucial. In order to assist with the selection process, a list of the top multifamily contractors in Jacksonville has been compiled. These companies are renowned for their awards, impressive portfolios, and rankings on reputable lists such as Engineering News-Record's Top Contractors of the Year and Multifamily Executive's Largest General Contractors. It is recommended to verify each builder's license with the local licensing board, speak to previous clients, and utilize a bidding system to obtain competitive quotes from at least three contractors. Gathering multiple bids ensures fair pricing and comprehensive inclusion of the project's scope of work.

June 1, 2019

Starbucks $121 million design-build project, which added 150,000-sq-ft to its Augusta, GA soluble coffee facility, is now complete. The expansion also added six new whole bean roasters, as well as provisions for two future packaging lines.

May 23, 2019

Tom Bush Volkswagen in Jacksonville, Florida, celebrated its grand reopening party with a beach theme as the dealership gears up for its 50th anniversary. The dealership underwent extensive renovations to align with the expanding Volkswagen brand, featuring an open showroom floor and updated exterior. The project was part of Stellar's efforts to modernize various facilities of the Tom Bush Family of Dealerships. The Volkswagen facility includes a redesigned customer lounge, expanded showroom, branded exterior framing, reconfigured sales offices, and other upgrades. The renovation comes at an opportune time with Volkswagen's recent and upcoming model debuts. The Tom Bush Family of Dealerships, led by John Bush, has been operating for nearly a century and offers Volkswagen, Mazda, BMW, MINI, and pre-owned vehicles. The partnership with Stellar has been successful, and the renovated facility exceeded expectations. The Bush family has a commitment to the community, and the renovated dealership reflects their dedication to providing an exceptional customer experience.

May 22, 2019

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is transforming the food manufacturing industry by providing access to vast amounts of data. Internet-connected sensors play a crucial role in collecting data, and they can be used in various ways in a food plant. Measurements can be taken to understand utility usage by product and identify hidden quality drivers. Monitoring systems can detect failures in equipment such as makeup air units or exhaust fans, HVAC air pressure, motor vibrations, and leaking pipes. Maximizing the value of a connected facility involves predictive maintenance plans and striving for a unified data system across all facility systems. The future holds potential for using predictive analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to make maintenance decisions and analyze data from multiple locations. The possibilities for leveraging data in food plants are extensive.

May 9, 2019

Stellar, a global firm specializing in design, engineering, construction, and mechanical services, has been contracted by fairlife, LLC to construct a new production and distribution facility in Goodyear, Arizona. The 300,000-square-foot facility will be designed for expansion and will incorporate advanced manufacturing technologies and energy-saving equipment. The project includes site development, building design, engineering, and construction, as well as utility installation. The facility will support increased production of fairlife's milk beverages and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2020. Stellar has a wealth of experience in building food and beverage processing facilities worldwide. fairlife, LLC produces nutritious milk beverages using a unique cold-filtration process, and its product line includes fairlife ultra-filtered milk, Core Power, fairlife YUP!, fairlife smart snacks, and fairlife nutrition plan.

March 31, 2019

Stellar, a construction firm, shares best practices for executing food plant construction projects on tight schedules. Using the example of the US Cold Storage facility in Laredo, Texas, they highlight four key practices. First, defining goals and requirements early on, such as providing floor plans, site plans, and specifications, helps streamline the process. Second, establishing a point of contact and maintaining open communication with the construction team ensures effective decision-making and progress updates. Third, giving the builder flexibility in sourcing subcontractors expedites the hiring process and accelerates the project timeline. Finally, engaging with local government officials early on and building a positive relationship can facilitate the permitting process. These practices contributed to the successful completion of the US Cold Storage project.

March 17, 2019

Stellar, a construction firm, has completed the expansion project for Rulon International, a wood ceiling and acoustical wall systems manufacturer. The $3.3 million project involved the design and construction of a 26,559-square-foot addition to the existing warehouse, increasing the total space to 91,876 square feet. Stellar overcame the challenge of expanding in a direction not originally designed for by using a post-shoring system to support the roof. They also implemented a custom underground stormwater solution to avoid disruptions to the office entrance. Rulon International praised Stellar for their professionalism and efficient management. Stellar has extensive experience in constructing commercial facilities and warehouses and has completed over 10 million square feet of warehouse space in the past decade.

January 30, 2019

Royal Cup Coffee & Tea has been awarded the 2019 "Manufacturing Innovation of the Year" by ProFood World for its coffee processing facility in Birmingham, Alabama. Stellar, the design and construction firm, was responsible for the state-of-the-art plant expansion. The facility incorporates advanced technologies and automation, allowing Royal Cup to meet customer demands and increase profitability. Innovative features include a high-tech green bean receiving facility, telescopic conveyors for unloading, real-time data collection software, and improved food safety measures. Stellar's partnership with Royal Cup involved understanding their business needs and providing tailored solutions. The success of the project demonstrates the value of collaboration and expertise in design and construction.

January 29, 2019

Royal Cup Coffee & Tea has been awarded the 2019 "Manufacturing Innovation of the Year" for its coffee processing facility in Birmingham, Alabama. Stellar, the firm responsible for the design and construction of the facility, worked closely with Royal Cup to incorporate the latest food handling and manufacturing technologies. The plant features innovative elements such as automated bean handling, telescopic conveyors for unloading, real-time data collection software, and data-driven design for improved flow. These upgrades have led to increased profitability and enabled Royal Cup to fulfill more deals. Royal Cup acknowledges Stellar's partnership and their commitment to understanding their business needs. The project's success highlights the importance of a collaborative and dedicated approach in design and construction.

January 23, 2019

Food and beverage manufacturing facilities in the U.S. are facing a labor shortage and are focusing on employee welfare spaces to attract and retain workers. Modern food plants are incorporating several employee-focused design trends:

1. Attractive, comfortable spaces: Companies are designing modern, bright, and comfortable areas with high-end finishes to create an appealing work environment.

2. Mothers' rooms: Designated spaces for nursing mothers with privacy, comfortable seating, and amenities like refrigerators and sinks are becoming more common.

3. Recreational spaces: Food plants are including amenities such as gyms, fitness centers, and recreation areas to encourage employee well-being and physical activity.

4. Comfortable room temperatures: HVAC systems are configured to maintain food safety standards while providing a comfortable temperature for employees.

5. Easy access to restrooms and water fountains: Efficient traffic flow and proximity to restrooms and water sources are considered during facility design.

6. On-site company stores and products: Some facilities have on-site stores offering discounted products to employees, while others provide free access to the products they produce, promoting a connection to the brand.

7. Vending and food options: Food plants in remote locations offer vending machines with a greater selection of snacks and drinks. Some facilities even allow food trucks to visit, providing additional dining options.

These design trends prioritize employee well-being, comfort, and convenience, aiming to create an appealing workplace and improve retention rates.