A new sign reflects new ownership, by Kettle Cuisine, at the former StockPot Soup plant in south Everett. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)

A new sign reflects new ownership, by Kettle Cuisine, at the former StockPot Soup plant in south Everett. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)

Everett StockPot Soup plant sold, but soup-making continues

Campbell Soup is selling the sprawling plant, and the new Boston-based owner is hiring.

EVERETT — The Campbell Soup Co., which has been making soup in Snohomish County since 1999, has sold its sprawling StockPot Soup plant in southwest Everett.

The Campbell subsidiary is leaving, but the soup stays here.

Kettle Cuisine, which makes private-label soups and sauces for grocery chains, restaurants and food service suppliers, has acquired the StockPot facility at 1200 Merrill Creek Parkway.

The Boston-based food producer plans to mix its own brands, including soups, at the former StockPot plant.

Kettle acquired the StockPot plant when it purchased Portland-based Harry’s Fresh Foods last week from a private equity firm in Seattle.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Liam McClennon, Kettle’s CEO, said the company plans to move into the enormous plant — the size of four football fields — and put up its shingle by the end of the month.

Core non-seasonal employees at the plant remain in place, McClennon told The Daily Herald.

StockPot, a 24-hour operation that employed about 300 workers, usually added a hundred or more temporary employees during the winter soup season.

Kettle Cuisine expects to make a “pretty significant investment” in the facility and add “200 to 300” jobs as it scales up the operation, McClennon said.

The StockPot Soup plant in South Everett. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)

The StockPot Soup plant in South Everett. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)

The company also will be moving equipment and production from Harry’s Fresh Foods plants in Tennessee and Portland to Everett, which are closing, McClennon said.

StockPot, which was purchased by the Campbell Soup Company in 1998 from its Seattle-area founder, produced refrigerated and frozen soups and sauces for Campbell’s Fresh division.

When refrigerated soup sales cooled in recent years, Campbell’s announced plans last summer to sell the division to “increase the company’s focus, significantly reduce debt and strengthen its balance sheet,” according to a company news release.

In February, Campbell’s inked a deal to sell the Everett StockPot facility to an affiliate of the Joshua Green Corp, a Seattle private investment firm.

The Joshua Green affiliate also owned Harry’s Fresh Foods, which produces soups, entrees, desserts and other products for grocery and club stores, such as Costco.

Kettle Cuisine recently agreed to purchase Harry’s from the Joshua Green affiliate.

Joshua Green declined to comment and referred inquiries to Kettle Cuisine.

Campbell’s built the Everett plant and began production there in 2007, replacing a Woodinville location.

Campbell’s has had a local presence since 1999, when it opened a south Snohomish County soup factory near Highway 9. However, that was forced to close a few years later when King and Snohomish county officials chose the area as the site for the Brightwater Treatment Plant.

The Brightwater project evicted 14 businesses by the eminent domain process, including StockPot, an auto-restoration operation and a landscape business.

King County, the developer of the Brightwater sewage plant, offered Campbell’s a $23 million relocation benefits package.

In August 2005, Campbell’s and StockPot said it planned to build a larger $80 culinary campus within Everett’s Seaway Business Park.

The offer was intended to assist StockPot to relocate somewhere within King, Snohomish or Pierce counties, and thereby maintain 400 jobs and $21 million in annual company purchases.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods.

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