Freeport employees to keep jobs when Furst-McNess moves headquarters to Rockford

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The Furst-McNess building, 120 E. Clark St., Freeport, is expected to be sold after the company moves to Rockford.


FREEPORT — Furst-McNess employees are expected to keep their jobs when the 114-year-old company relocates its U.S. headquarters to Rockford later this year. 

The once family-owned agricultural nutrition company announced earlier this month that it will complete the move by Sept. 1. 

Officials say after relocating, the company's 35 employees will be based at the new location or work remotely. 

“No positions are being cut with the move at all,” Marketing Director Tom Rutter said. 

Rutter said the company has signed a lease on a 12,000 square-foot facility. Furst-McNess isn't ready to announce the location, but he said it is within a “reasonable distance” from the Chicago Rockford International Airport.

“One of the stipulations that we had when searching for a new location was the proximity to metropolitan areas but also one that allows us the biggest opportunity to keep our existing employees,” Rutter said.

President & CEO Mark Poeschl said in a news release that a closeness to Chicago and air transportation accommodates the company's aggressive growth plan and gives it an advantage in recruiting talent.

Furst-McNess was founded in 1908 by Frank E. First and Frederick W. McNess and was a family controlled company until 2021, when it was sold to a Korean corporation.

Founded in 1908 in Freeport by Frank E. Furst and Frederick W. McNess, Furst-McNess was sold in 2021 to a subsidiary of Easy Bio, a multi-national agricultural corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. 

The company plans to sell its Freeport building at 120 E. Clark St. via a sealed-bid auction that is expected to be completed this summer.

“Furst-McNess has been a great community partner throughout the years," said Freeport City Manager Randy Bukas. "They will be sorely missed. We wish the sale of their building will go as planned.”

Furst-McNess operates 14 locations in the United States and Canada. It serves the beef, dairy, poultry and swine industries with an array of vitamin, mineral and feed products. 

Jim Hagerty:; @jimhagerty