Graeter’s ice cream is going national after announcing that an $11 million plant will be built after a year-long search for sites, the Cincinnati Inquirer reported.

The plant will bring 30 new jobs to Cincinnati, city officials said, and retain 60 existing jobs. “I want to offer a big thank you to the people of Cincinnati for making this possible,” Richard Graeter, president and chief executive officer, told the Inquirer. “It’s the happiest day of my life.”

The company was founded in 1870 and plans to quadruple production by this time next year. Negotiations continue with Ohio officials over a job creation tax credit and city council must sign off on incentives linked to the city-owned land valued at $3.3 million. Graeter reportedly was heavily courted by officials in Kentucky and Indiana, but the CEO said that in the end, the project, designed by Hixson Architecture Engineering Interiors, belonged in Cincinnati.
The ground-breaking for the 28,000-square-foot plant could occur as soon as April, and by January 2010, Graeter’s hopes to be producing ice cream at the site, the Inquirer reported. The existing plant on

Reading Road
, built in 1934, will produce candies and baked goods; corporate offices will move to the new site.
The new plant will have a larger freezer, loading dock and blend room. Graeter said the company will be able to produce enough ice cream to load up freezers in hundreds of grocery stores owned by Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. or affiliated stores.
Last year Graeter’s began selling ice cream in Greater Denver through a Kroger King Soopers division. “I soon got a call from the Houston president of the Kroger division there, whose son had bought Graeter’s in Denver,” Graeter told the Inquirer. “He wanted to know when he could get it for his stores so Houston/Dallas Krogers will be the next market for us - sometime later this spring.”