MOUNT STERLING, Ill. -- Dot Foods has completed an almost $3 million renovation and expansion of its frozen warehouse break room at the company's Mount Sterling facility.
Announced in March, the expansion added 5,000 square feet to the interior of the break room and 4,000 square feet of covered area outside.
"Our people work hard. It's a tough environment they're in," said Dot Foods President Dick Tracy during a ribbon cutting Tuesday morning. "It's important to pay our people well and to offer good benefits, but what's different for us is that we want people to enjoy coming to work."
In addition to enlarging the break room, used by 400 employees, the renovation incorporated new leisure activities, like pingpong and billiards tables. Big-screen TVs now line the walls.
"Like many projects, this took longer, and we spent a little more money on it than we wanted to," Tracy said, "but we're very pleased with the end product."
Traditional vending machines have been swapped out for the company's new market vending system -- a series of refrigerators resembling those in grocery stores that offer fresh food.
"It's a competitive marketplace, where there are a lot of companies hiring out there," Tracy said. "We not only need to make sure our wage is competitive and our benefits are good, but we think this does set us apart -- not just a nice break room, but the culture that we have here."
The expansion was prompted, in part, when it became clear that the old break room had reached its functional capacity as Dot Foods hired more employees.
"It got a little tight; it got a little cramped," Tracy said. "We didn't have neat, fun things."
Also underway at Dot Foods is a $14.6 million office expansion that will add 60,000 square feet of office space and 125,000 square feet of landscaping, and will feature a similar break room to the one in the new freezer warehouse.