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Lexington-based coffee company invests $2M to expand, expects to add 55 jobs

By JACK WEATHERLY

jack.weatherly@msbusiness.com

Lexington-based Southern Coffee Services is expanding its operations in a $2 million corporate investment that is expected to create 55 jobs over three years.

Southern Coffee currently employs 14. The expansion is slated to be complete in January 2020.

Southern Coffee aims to develop “sustainable businesses focused on restoring and strengthening the local communities. for generation,” Chuck Lovorn, chief executive, said in a news release.

“We are [training and hiring] for supply chain, production, distribution, customer service, marketing, accounting, service, sales and more,” Lovorn said. The company is launching a nationwide home delivery service, he added.

Lovorn said in an interview that the “intent is to hire in Holmes County,” The Holmes Career Center will screen potential employees, he said.

Holmes is one of the poorest counties in the state. Its unemployment rate in March was 9.4 percent, nearly twice the state’s rate of 4.8 percent.

The county is “hurting for opportunity,” Lovorn said.

Lovorn is owner of the Calhoun City-based Creative Group, which helps launch start-ups and is a third-party logistics company, handling distribution for businesses, even in foreign countries. His business produces cowbells for Mississippi State University, his alma mater, he said.

The opportunity to grow a Holmes-based business presented itself in February 2018 when Chenoa Coffee Co., a nonprofit that was operating the Lexington Coffee Co., converted to a for-profit company doing business as Southern Coffee Services.

A converted 45,000-square-foot building will serve as the company’s roasting and distribution center. Southern Coffee’s original facility, where the Lexington Coffee Co. was located, has been converted to a roastery, which blends and packs ground coffee from South American beans and single-serve cups for website and grocery sales.

Southern Coffee distributes in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri and Louisiana.  Southern Coffee operates in the Direct to Store channel, Foodservice channel through distribution partners, hospitality and convenience store markets as well as retailers such as Rouses, Vowells and Corner Markets across Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

The Mississippi Development Authority is providing a $100,000 grant for building improvements, and the city of Lexington is providing assistance for an access road valued at $155,000.

Southern Coffee’s online address is www.freshsoutherncoffee.com.

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About Jack Weatherly