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Lawrence veggie burger company to move into new production plant near 23rd and Haskell

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Here may be another example of how Lawrence once again breaks from the herd. Right here in the middle of Beef Country, Lawrence may become known as the Capital of Veggie Burgers.

It is still a little early to bestow that title, but one of Lawrence’s emerging, potentially nationwide success stories is a veggie burger company.

As we previously have reported, Hilary Brown, the owner of Lawrence’s former Local Burger restaurant, has started a veggie burger production company that sells products under the brand name Hilary’s Eat Well.

Now, the company is undergoing its largest expansion yet. Brown confirmed to me that her company has signed a deal with an investor to occupy an 8,000-square-foot, vacant industrial building near 23rd and Haskell.

The building at 2205 Haskell Ave. used to house a machine shop, but has been vacant for a few years. The purchase will allow Brown to move out of rented production space at 19th and Haskell, and significantly expand production of the company’s products. It also will allow the company to move its administrative offices out of the upstairs space that was above the former Local Burger restaurant near Seventh and Vermont streets.

Brown started making a few veggie burgers out of her Local Burger restaurant in spring 2010, and demand was so strong that she had moved into production space at 19th and Haskell by February 2011. By summer 2012, the company struck a deal to have its veggie burger products sold in Whole Foods stores across the country.

Brown said the company is in discussions with other national retailers and food service companies to carry the products. The company expects its production capacity to increase “by a lot,” and the company has ordered new equipment for the location.

“I think I just wrote the largest check of my life,” Brown said of the recent equipment order. “But we think it will pay for itself very quickly.”

The company plans to launch three new products in 2013, including something called a Hemp and Greens Burger, Veggie Bites and a special remoulade sauce that was popular at Local Burger.

Currently, Hilary’s Eat Well has about 20 employees, but Brown said the company likely will add four more as part of the expansion.

She hopes to be in the building by March or April. Kelvin Heck of Lawrence’s Colliers International brokered the deal for the seller, while Lawrence resident Steve Ruttinger of Spectrum Real Estate Services represented the buyer.

Comments

matthew2600 2 years ago

Sad that the classiest and best smelling business at 19th and Haskell is no more, if you would've been able to buy veggie burgers retail next to a liquor store that would have been the ultimate Lawrence strip mall.

MarcoPogo 2 years ago

I guess the Best Smelling Business title reverts to Miracle Video.

gccs14r 2 years ago

The liquor store will probably appreciate not having a grease stripe leading out the door, though. That's going to need a good steam cleaning after the burger production moves out.

rockchalker52 2 years ago

Good return on investment with those veggie burgers. You can use every part of a herd of vegetables.

Jean Robart 2 years ago

I never was able to go to Local Burger, even though I have heard good things about it. I look forward to trying some of their product--hope it will be available before i move out of Kansas in April--but I also hope it will be available in western Kentucky.

tribalzendancer 2 years ago

This is great news! Congrats Hilary and everyone else involved. :)

RDE87 2 years ago

Yay! Congratulations Hilary!

tomatogrower 2 years ago

Congratulations. And, conservatives, this really is a small business. Mennards isn't.

KiferGhost 2 years ago

How refreshing to see someone in Lawrence starting a business that actually produces something. Bravo Hilary! Make Lawrence proud while the chamber crowd just continues on with their nonsense.

KiferGhost 2 years ago

Did Hilary's veggieburger enterprise receive any chamber derived benefits or is she out there doing it on her own?

thelonious 2 years ago

Doing it on her own. Her last name is not Fritzel.

KiferGhost 2 years ago

It is awesome someone can make something of themrself in this town without having to be part of a con game. Maybe there is hope.

peartree 2 years ago

She makes a wonderful product! I'm happy to see this happening for her and for Lawrence.

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