Milo’s Tea Company executives were joined by local and state leaders to break ground on a new production and distribution center at the Cherokee Extension Industrial Park in Tulsa County. Based in Birmingham, Ala., Milo’s will invest $60 million in the construction of a 108 thousand square foot facility and in the installation of advanced manufacturing equipment. The company expects to create 110 new jobs when construction is complete in September 2020.
“From our initial visit, Tulsa felt like our second home,” said Milo’s Chief Executive Officer Patricia Wallwork. “Since our founding more than 73 years ago in Alabama, Milo’s proudly remains a family-owned business. Today, we are equally proud to plant new roots in the greater Tulsa region.”
Founded as a hamburger shop in 1946, by Milo and Bea Carlton, Milo’s manufactures, distributes, markets and sells fresh-brewed teas and all-natural lemonade. In 2014, Milo’s nearly tripled its distribution from 13 to 35 states and, today, distributes product in 45 states throughout the United States.
“It became critical to construct a second production facility to continue our exponential growth,” Wallwork said. “After a nationwide search to determine the optimal site, our focus became Oklahoma. The support and collaboration of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum’s office, and the Cherokee Nation were key in our decision-making process. Tulsa’s family-centric culture, innovative workforce, and optimal location for the mass distribution of goods is fundamental in the expansion of our geographic footprint.”
“The fact that Milo’s chose Tulsa after an extensive nationwide search and was drawn to Oklahoma’s workforce and family-centric culture is something that should inspire pride in all Oklahomans,” Gov. Stitt said. “Our state’s location will be optimal for the company, providing impressive transportation savings, as they expand into the western U.S.”
According to the Tulsa Regional Chamber, the total economic impact of the expansion in Tulsa County means the 110 direct jobs at Milo’s Tea will support an additional 177 indirect jobs in the community. Together, these jobs will provide $16.4 million in earned income annually. During the construction phase, the capital investment of $60 million will support an additional $35.5 million in income earned by construction and supply vendors.
“Milo’s Tea Company’s investment in north Tulsa County is a testament to how a collaborative, regional approach to economic development can bring national companies to northeast Oklahoma,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. “We appreciate the effort of all the partners involved in this project, and we are thrilled to welcome Milo’s to our region.”
“In Tulsa, we are proactively shaping our own future by focusing on attracting quality jobs to the region and on enhancing our quality of life for all citizens,” said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. “Tulsa is well positioned to enjoy sustainable, balanced, and equitable growth into the near- and long-term futures. Milo’s is an excellent addition to the region as a major employer. Their corporate philosophy means they are not just here to do business in our community, but will also work diligently to become a part of our community.”
“We’re proud to support meaningful economic development initiatives that create opportunities for Cherokee Nation citizens, as well as all Oklahomans,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Our collaboration and partnerships with the Tulsa Regional Chamber and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce means we can mobilize those resources for the right project at the right time to ensure northeast Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation can rise together. We look forward to working closely with Milo’s as we assist their efforts in recruiting the skilled workforce needed to fill these jobs.”
Milo’s was recently named the 2019 Alabama Manufacturer of the Year and is currently a Birmingham “Best Place to Work” finalist. Through its Milo’s Makes a Difference program, Milo’s is committed to corporate responsibility through financially supporting local initiatives that align with the company’s core values. Milo’s is a certified Gold-level Zero Waste Facility and is considered a national leader in sustainability through its commitment to renewable energy, water conservation and package reduction. Additionally, the company is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise and Wallwork was named a finalist for the 2019 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Progressive Grocer Top Women in Grocery Awards.
“Every day, we are privileged to be invited to our consumers’ tables and gatherings to share in their special times and become part of their daily lives. We call these connections ‘Milo’s Moments’ and they are the reason we exist and have enjoyed such tremendous success,” Wallwork said. “Our new facility will provide many new opportunities to make a difference and we are so excited to see the Moments we will create together in Tulsa.”