300+ jerky jobs coming to town

Washington-based company to fill former O'Charley's commissary in 100 Oaks area

A fast-growing maker of beef jerky is preparing to bring more than 300 jobs to the 100 Oaks area.

Oberto Brands, which is based outside Seattle, said it will set up operations at the old O'Charley's commissary at 2960 Armory Drive in the first half of next year. Company officials said their sales have doubled in the past few years and cited a need to expand their production footprint to keep up with demand.

"We chose Nashville as the location for Oberto's new production facility because of its great business climate and incredible workforce," said Tom Ennis, CEO of Oberto Brands, which markets the Oh Boy, Oberto!, Lowrey's Meat Snacks and Pacific Gold Beef Jerky brands. "We look forward to partnering with this dynamic, growing city to help us diversify our supply chain and get closer to the fastest-growing region of our business."

Oberto has been deliberate about making its product domestically. A few years ago, the company moved production capacity from Brazil to the United States, creating 300 jobs. Its local expansion is in line to get some incentives from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, but a spokeswoman for the agency said the details are still being ironed out.

O'Charley's sold its former commissary (an interior shot of the facility is below) to real estate investment firm W.P. Carey in mid-2007. Carey officials then leased the facility to Mountain City Meat Co. out of Denver, but that enterprise has since shut down its local operations. The high-profile site at Armory Drive and Sidco Drive sits next to what is now the headquarters of American Blue Ribbon Holdings, the holding company for O'Charley's and J. Alexander's, among others.

Jeffrey Thomas and Lee Black at CB Richard Ellis had been marketing the building.

"Oberto's decision to locate a plant in Nashville speaks to the vitality of our city and the talent of our workforce," Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said. "I'm especially pleased that Oberto will be bringing an existing facility back to life. Filling vacant buildings in and around our urban core is important to the strength and future of our city."