WOLCOTT – The shell building is finally fully occupied and operational.
EggLife LLC officially unveiled its operations Monday at the 60,000-square-foot facility at Mid-America Commerce Park with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and lunch for its guests featuring the products it makes.
EggLife, a subsidiary of Rose Acre Farms, produces gluten-free, low carbohydrate egg white wraps using cage-free eggs from chickens raised on family farms. No flour is used.
Rose Acre Farms has been working with White County Economic Development and has acquired adjacent land in the industrial and commerce park.
EggLife was founded by Peggy Johns, who worked for Seymour-based Rose Acre Farms for nearly 30 years before starting EggLife.
“It was never in my wildest dreams to start a company,” she said. “I had some health issues and my doctor said I needed to cut down on my carbs and increase my proteins — and no sugar. Easier said than done.”
She began experimenting with eggs to develop healthy recipes, using her family and friends as “test subjects.” She said high school football teams at North White and Rensselaer Central liked them so much that they would ask Johns’ sons, “Is your mom bringing some of those wraps? Tell her to bring those wraps.”
After much experimentation, Johns said she developed tortilla-like wraps made entirely from egg whites. When she gave them to Marcus Rust, her boss at Rose Acre, he “inspired and encouraged” her to make a business out of it.
“That is when everything changed,” she said. “He instantly recognized the impact my recipes could have. He said these recipes have the potential to help people and we’ve got to do this.”
During Monday’s lunch, those in attendance chose from four styles of wraps – original, Italian, rye and Southwest. In addition to being gluten-free, the wraps are also free of grain, nut and dairy products.
The ready-to-eat, grain-free and dairy-free tortillas — which deliver five grams of protein, less than one gram of carbs, zero grams of saturated fat and only 25-30 calories per wrap — will be available in a select number of grocery stores in the Chicago area beginning in October 2019, with broader distribution expected in 2020, according to the company.
The closest retailer carrying the wraps will be the Remington IGA store, 115 E. Division St., Remington.
EggLife has been operational since summer, running two shifts with one line (it has the capacity to run five), but Monday was the first up-close glimpse many people have had of the facility. It currently has about 50 people working those shifts, with more expected as lines expand and product development grows.
EggLife is the first company to begin operations at Mid-America Commerce Park since the shell building it now occupies was constructed about four years ago by Terre Haute-based Garmong Development Co. LLC.
Built within a mile from Interstate 65, the shell building was meant to attract companies to White County looking for rail service and proximity to an interstate highway with connections to Chicago, Lafayette and Indianapolis.
White County later had water and sewer service installed at the site in hopes of attracting businesses to build at Mid-America.
“There were a lot of skeptics out in the community that said, ‘What are those people thinking, putting all that money into water and sewer, and (constructing) a building out there that they don’t have an occupant for?’” said John Heimlich, White County Commission president. “For us who have been a part of this, today is especially gratifying because we see it as validation that we weren’t totally crazy through all those years.”
In May 2018, EggLife bought the shell building for $3.9 million, roughly the amount it cost to build it.
In July, Sweetener Supply Inc., of Brookfield, Ill., announced plans to build a 150,000-square-foot facility on 15 acres of property at the commerce park. The company will be the second tenant of the industrial park. It is expected to break ground in spring and be fully operational by 2021.
“We’re very excited to have EggLife move out here — and we’re especially gratified because it’s a local company, local ownership, and it’s a food-grade manufacturer which we kind of made a priority for this area out here,” Heimlich said.
For more information about EggLife LLC, visit www.egglifellc.com.