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a $5M project

US (MI): Lakeland Fresh Farms unexpectedly closed

According to Crains Detroit editor Jay Davis, Lakeland Fresh Farms unexpectedly closed earlier this spring, leaving behind an 80,000-square-foot hydroponic farm now up for lease. Principals invested about $5 million into the project.

The Macomb County farm is out of business less than three years after planting its first seeds. Lakeland Fresh Farms, a producer of hydroponically grown greens based in Chesterfield Township, unexpectedly closed earlier this spring. The 78,900-square-foot facility at 50750 Russell Schmidt Blvd. has a sign-out front advertising the building for lease. A former representative for the business confirmed the closing with Crain's.

Realtor Ben Wilkiemeyer, the listing agent working on the property, did not immediately respond to Crain's request for more information. Lakeland Fresh opened in May 2021. The indoor farm was started by a group that included President and CEO Joe Corace, who raised $5 million to get the business started. Corace in a text message to Crain's said he left the company in October 2022. He declined to comment further.

In its first year, the company said it brought in just shy of $1 million in revenue after Corace projected first-year earnings of about $2 million. In 2022, Lakeland Fresh brought in about $1 million in revenue. Revenue for 2023 was not disclosed, but officials had projected between $2 million and $4 million.

Lakeland Fresh operated as a direct-to-grocer and -restaurant business that had a client list that included all Papa Joe's, Vince & Joe's, Hollywood Market and Busch's locations. Products could also be found at Neiman's Family Market in Clarkston and St. Clair, Meijer's Woodward Corner Market in Royal Oak and Market Fresh Fine Foods in Beverly Hills. On its farm, Lakeland Fresh used automated systems and the company had about 18 employees on staff.

Read the entire article at Crain's Detroit

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