Echo Lake Foods is preparing to reopen its plant at 1017 Locust St. in February or March, Anthony Villarreal, plant manager, said Wednesday.

He'll be hiring between 100 and 125 workers in January, he said.

Pay will start at $13 an hour.

"We want to be competitive," Villarreal said.

An oven fire on Aug. 10, 2018, heavily damaged the former Baskin-Robbins plant, which Villarreal said dates back to the 1920s.

"We're putting in bigger and better ovens," he said.

Villarreal said the plant will produce breakfast food including French toast, egg patties and pancakes for the frozen food market.

The company, based in Burlington, Wisconsin, says on its website that Paul Kramer founded the company in 1941, selling eggs door to door.

In 1981, he sold the company to the present owners, The Meinerz Family, the site says.

Two years later, the company began production of a line of frozen omelets, egg patties and diced eggs.

It expanded into French toast and pancakes in 1996 and added crepes and filled blintzes three years later.

The site says, "In 2001, we acquired a large production and storage facility in Owensboro, KY. This facility gives us new capacities along with additional strengths in serving our national customer base."

The plant also includes the building at 1020 Frederica St.

In 2014, Echo Lake announced plans to locate a $19.88-million food processing facility in Huntington, Indiana, joining its facilities in Owensboro and Burlington and Franksville, Wisconsin.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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