Holly Poultry, a Baltimore-based chicken processor, already employs approximately 250 workers and plans to add 150 more in the next few years. The demand for poultry is continuously growing, requiring the company to increase its volume of employees.
Mike Fine bought the family owned-company in 1990 and has been expanding it ever since. He believes that only a few residents are even aware the manufacturer exists in the city, since he’s been so low-key about the ongoing expansion.
Mike just recently handed the reins of the business over to his son Zach, who recently oversaw a construction of a new processing plant. The new employees will staff the 35,000-square-foot plant, where city leaders met on Wednesday to celebrate the company’s contribution to Baltimore’s economy and the new expansion.Fine said amid growth, he has diligently tried to hire people who live in Baltimore, which has earned him praise from community groups and city leaders. Some of Holly’s workers come from the correctional system. Baltimore’s unemployment rate of 6.1 percent is much higher than the state unemployment rate of 4.3 percent.
The CEO and president of the Baltimore Development Corp. gave Holly Poultry a $400,000 low-interest loan to help the company sail through the permitting process and for equipment.
“These are sustainable jobs with upward mobility that will hopefully lead to a family-sustaining wage,” he said. “Holly Poultry provides jobs for some who need a second chance and serves as an important employment anchor in Southwest Baltimore.”
The starting salary is $9.50 an hour, slightly above the $8.75 minimum wage. The company offers its workers plenty of opportunity to earn a quick succession of raises, along with discounts on products it makes. Holly is very generous to its employees, providing them bus fare to get to work and health care coverage.
Perdue Farms and other larger growers supplies Holly with whole chickens, acting as something of a middleman. The deboned, marinated and portioned chicken is distributed to various companies, including Sysco and Saval to food outlets from Richmond, Virginia to New York.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture data, each American will consume an estimated 91.6 pounds in 2017, which is up from 28 pounds in 1960.