Milo’s Tea Company executives were joined today by local and state leaders for a ceremonial ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of Milo’s new production and distribution center at the Cherokee Extension Industrial Park in Tulsa County. Based in Birmingham, Ala., Milo’s announced its expansion to Tulsa in May 2019 where it invested over $60 million in advanced manufacturing equipment and construction of an operations center spanning more than 100,000 square feet on the 20 acre site. In its first phase of hiring, Milo’s added 60 new jobs and plans to add more than 100 direct jobs during the next 12 months.
“From our initial visit, Tulsa felt like our second home,” said Milo’s Chief Executive Officer Tricia Wallwork. “Since our founding more than 74 years ago in Alabama, Milo’s proudly remains a family-owned business. Today, we are equally proud to join the greater Tulsa community as we officially open our new manufacturing and distribution center.”
Milo’s was founded as a hamburger shop in 1946 by Wallwork’s grandparents, Milo and Bea Carlton, Today, the company is known for manufacturing, distributing and selling fresh-brewed, all-natural teas and lemonade throughout the United States. Significant growth led the company to seek an expansion location. After a nationwide search, Milo’s narrowed its focus to Oklahoma. Collaborative efforts between the Tulsa Regional Chamber, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the City of Tulsa, and the Cherokee Nation were crucial in Milo’s decision-making process.
“We started shipping product from our Tulsa facility about three weeks ago, and we are already seeing Tulsa’s family-centric community, innovative workforce programs and central distribution point making a difference in our expansion and ability to deliver more Milo’s Moments,” Wallwork said.
“No matter how large an employer, culture is at the core of many family-owned businesses. Clear values. caring, loyalty and deep commitment to community are just a few of them,” said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. “I had the opportunity to spend time with Tricia Wallwork and her team during the site selection process. It is evident that Milo’s corporate philosophy means they are not just here to do business in our community, but they want to become a part of our community.”
According to the Tulsa Regional Chamber, the total economic impact of the expansion in Tulsa County means the 110 direct jobs at Milo’s will support an additional 177 indirect jobs in the community. Together, these jobs will provide $16.4 million in earned income annually. During the construction phase, the capital investment of over $60 million supported an additional $35.5 million in income earned by construction and supply vendors.
“Milo’s is a world-class employer and has been a world-class corporate partner since deciding to build a production facility here in 2019,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. “Milo's growth is a prime example of the positive long-term effects a business expansion or relocation project can have on our region. The company’s expansion to Tulsa paved the way for future growth, as evidenced by today’s ribbon cutting, and we thank the entire Milo’s team for their continued investment in northeast Oklahoma.”
Milo’s is ranked as a “Best Place to Work” in Birmingham and was named Alabama Manufacturer of the Year in 2019. The company is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise, which means the company is majority-owned and controlled by women. Wallwork has also won many awards for her entrepreneurship and corporate responsibility.
“We are committed to being a good corporate partner through financially supporting local initiatives that align with our core values,” said Wallwork. “We look forward to bringing that same philosophy to the Tulsa region by supporting the local community.”
Additionally, Milo’s is a national leader in sustainability through its commitment to waste reduction and water conservation. It is certified as a Platinum-level (highest level) Zero Waste Manufacturer, which means over 99% of waste produced in operations is reused or recycled. Through its ongoing work to improve water efficiency, Milo’s saved almost 4.5 million gallons of water in 2019, with aggressive goals to continue improving water use each year. For the Tulsa facility, Milo’s partnered with the Tulsa Botanic Garden to receive its spent tea waste, which the Garden will be using in its composting program.
“Every day, we are privileged to be invited to our fans’ tables and gatherings to share in their special times and become part of their daily lives,” Wallwork said. “As a family-owned business, we remain committed to uncompromised quality and taking care of our customers, associates and fans. Our new facility in Tulsa will allow us to continue Milo’s legacy for many more generations to come.”