Basic American Foods celebrates its E. Idaho roots

Basic American Foods CEO Bryan Reese gave an impassioned talk Thursday that highlighted the gains his company has made in Idaho and throughout the United States. The event, dubbed as a “Celebration of Local Manufacturing,” also touted its relationship with longtime business partner Walmart. courtesy Basic American Foods

Brent Higginson, plant manager at Basic American Foods, gives a tour at the Shelley facility on Thursday. courtesy Basic American Foods

Brent Higginson, plant manager at Basic American Foods, gives a tour at the Shelley facility on Thursday. courtesy Basic American Foods

SHELLEY —For more than 60 years Basic American Foods has called eastern Idaho home, creating thousands of jobs and opportunities to those in the area.

On Thursday, surrounded by its long-time business partner Walmart and various local representatives, the company that dug its manufacturing roots into Shelley, celebrated its accomplishments of the past half-century.

The event also celebrated Walmart’s 10-year commitment to buy an additional $250 billion in products nationwide supporting American jobs by 2023.

In what was dubbed as a “Celebration of Local Manufacturing,” Basic American Foods CEO Bryan Reese provided an impassioned talk to those in attendance, including many of his employees, and highlighted the gains his company has made in Idaho and throughout the United States.

“One of the best things out of all the progress we have made as a company over the years is that we have created over 1,000 jobs across the state of Idaho across five different facilities, and we’re very proud to do that,” Reese said.

The company has an average employee tenure of 14 years, the release said.

But the ultimate victory for Reese and Basic American Foods might be its impact on the eastern Idaho economy. For multiple generations, Basic American Foods have provided quality work for those in the area, helping benefit both the local economy and grow their brand nationwide, Reese said.

Through an outlet such as Walmart, Basic American Foods has been able to continue its expansion, creating local jobs in the meantime. And, on the flip side, the company has gained the opportunity to grow in and of itself, but not forgetting those who helped them reach this level of success, according to Reese.

“One of our core values at Basic American Foods is to make things better,” Reese said. “That goes for the lives of our employees, our team members, and also goes for the communities where we work and live. One of the significant things that we’re very proud of, in addition to job creation, is the donating and give back to the communities where we work and live.”

Likewise, Walmart representatives were in attendance Thursday to help celebrate the occasion and bolster the bond between the companies while also benefiting the eastern Idaho community.

“Both companies share a belief in helping people live better and fighting hunger,” said Deborah Herron, public affairs and government relations manager for Walmart. “Between the two companies, hundreds of thousands of meals have been donated in Idaho, and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been donated to food banks and other causes that are helping fight hunger.”

But it was the job creation in the region that really took the forefront at Thursday’s event. It was a topic that several state representatives were on hand to promote and emphasize heading into the upcoming year.

“It was great to learn about the number of jobs that are provided here locally,” Rep. Wendy Horman said. “This was my first visit to the facility, and I was not aware of the local economic impact and the commitment Walmart has to American jobs. These are Idaho jobs, and to the extent Walmart has a commitment to carrying and promoting these products, that’s good news for eastern Idaho.”

And the work within the community was not lost among the festivities. Rep. Janet Trujillo noted that the investment, not only economically but also in terms of community outreach, was outstanding between both Basic American Foods and Walmart.

“The fact that we are highlighting eastern Idaho is a good thing as well,” Trujillo said. “As you watch eastern Idaho grow, you are going to see manufacturing become part of that development.

“It is exciting to see eastern Idaho take the lead, and also when we talk about the great things they have been able to do throughout the country. It highlights the great things that are happening lately within our local communities.”

And ultimately, that relationship, both through manufacturing and through the community, seems to continue this beneficial partnership in eastern Idaho for years to come.

“Our mission is to create ‘food heroes,’” Reese said. “So whether that’s a mom putting dinner on the table, a chef feeding kids in a school, or a camper saving time out in the woods, our products play a role in helping them meet what we call ‘meal time victories,’ and we work very hard everyday to achieve that for our customers.”

For information on Basic American Foods, visit