Food and Beverage Processing


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Suffolk, VA

Suffolk is a rapidly growing city in south central Hampton Roads , and is home to several prosperous companies. With outstanding schools, experienced labor force, quality workforce development programs and overall excellent quality-of-life, there are many reasons why someone would opt to move to or do business in Suffolk.

Industry Highlights

The City of Suffolk has assets to support a diverse range of industry sectors, with a strong focus on food and beverage processing, warehousing and distribution, and professional office space. At a size of 430 square miles, with ample developable sites and great connectivity, Suffolk provides an excellent location for business growth and expansion.

Recent investment announcements include:

  • Cooke Seafood investing over $3 million dollars in the Wanchese Fish Company’s seafood processing facility in Northgate Industrial Park to expand operations
  • Blue Bell Creameries opening their 14,000 SF distribution center in Northgate Industrial Park
  • Lipton Tea expansion into owning and blending the TAZO Tea line at the Suffolk tea processing facility
  • Hampton Roads Moving & Storage’s expansion of operations
  • Tegra Global’s addition of $2m in new equipment to handle additional product lines
  • Target Upstream Distribution Center’s and NEXCOM Distribution Center’s addition of new multi-million dollar product lines

Suffolk’s close proximity to The Port of Virginia draws businesses that embark in international trade operations. Companies with West Coast facilities such as Ace Hardware, Emser Tile, Friant & Associates have invested in Suffolk thanks to the ease of access to Port of Virginia, rail and highway networks to maximize their supply chain network most efficiently.


With one of the fastest growing populations in the state and region, Suffolk continues to draw new residents from around the country. According to Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, University of Virginia, 93,825 call Suffolk home. This figure represents a robust 10.9% population percent increase since 2010, notably higher than the state average increase. In fact, it is projected that Suffolk will surpass 100,000 people mark before 2025.

Local workforce development resources supplement the labor force. The “Schools to Work Program” is a new workforce development initiative that began in 2018. Suffolk Public Schools’ Career and Technical Education department and Suffolk Economic Development aligned high school students with Suffolk businesses to create a relationship, increase exposure, educate the students and enforce the employment pipeline for the businesses.


Industry Employment Breakdown

Industry # of Employees % of Workforce
Manufacturing 28,009 %45.05
Health Care and Social Assistance 12,771 %20.54
Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services 6,214 %9.99
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services 4,750 %7.64
Management of Companies and Enterprises 2,440 %3.92

Source: EMSI

Demographics 2019

Median Age
Labor Force
Unemployment Rate
Median Household Income
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2019; Esri Business Analyst Online, 2024 Forecast; Esri Business Analyst Online 2019 Detailed Age Profile; Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), 2019 Forecast

Key Companies



J-7 Joint Staff

Kraft Heinz Planters

Unilever-Lipton Tea

Suffolk Economic Development

Mr. Kevin Hughes, Director
(P) 757-514-4040

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Hampton Roads Alliance
500 E. Main St, Suite 1300
Norfolk, VA 23510
P: (757) 627-2315
F: (757) 623-3081

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