Melaleuca breaks ground for new manufacturing facility

NBC KPVI News 6 | Suzanne Hobbs | Eastern Idaho is about to get a shot in the economic arm. One of the area’s largest employers is taking advantage of the down economy and using it to expand operations south of Idaho Falls.

“This is what we call a powder facility. It’s going to be used to make instant powdered drinks,” says Frank VanderSloot, the CEO of Melaleuca. He’s talking about the new building that was started Tuesday morning on company land near I-15.

When it’s finished in about six months, the building which will look a lot like the current distribution center at the same location, will employ more than one-hundred scientists, chemists, and manufacturing personnel. They’ll be responsible for making all of Melaleuca’s powder products, and ship them around the world.

“And Idaho Falls will become internationally known as a producer of powdered drinks, instant drinks that are becoming very popular today,” VanderSloot adds.

Melaleuca is starting this $3.28-million dollar, 38-thousand square foot facility, at a time when many businesses are cutting back, but not Frank VanderSloot.

“We think that during tough economic times is when you ought to be expanding. Building costs are much more reasonable today than they were a couple years ago. And we’ll be back on our feet. This country is resilient. It’s going to bounce back. The economy is going to bounce back. Now is the time to be preparing for the future,” he says.

Right now, Melaleuca has about one half of one percent of the “health and wellness” product business in the United States…… but in places like Taiwan, it’s as high as two and a half percent….. and all indications are that the company will continue to grow.

VanderSloot adds, “Japan is growing rapidly. Korea, Taiwan, all these Asian countries… I’m talking about Melaleuca’s product line and customer base is growing there phenomenally and rapidly, so it fits with our business model. Be out in front and grow as you go.”