The former owner of Nature’s Bakery in Carson City is planning to build a large-scale commercial bakery and distribution center in Minden. David Marson of Marson Foods, a company he established in January 2019, purchased a 31-acre parcel along Heybourne Road, next door to VIP Rubber and Plastics, for $4.5 million in February. According to the company’s website, Carson City-based Marson Foods is currently manufacturing waffles for sale to nationwide K-12 school districts. On April 13, Douglas County planning commissioners in a 6-0 vote approved a major variance for the Carson Valley project, which includes development consisting of 292,805 square feet of commercial bakery space and 195,426 square feet of industrial warehouse and distribution space. The variance allows the company to have 465 parking spaces rather than the 586 required by county code. The approval comes four months after Marson and his wife, Jan, completed the sale of Nature’s Bakery to national healthy snack maker KIND in December 2020 for a reported $400 million. As for Marson Foods’ new endeavor, the two-phase project would occupy 11 acres of the site, or roughly 488,000 square feet, according to the project application, with the rest devoted to parking, access, landscaping and loading areas. The first phase would include construction of the first building, with 66,906 square feet devoted to the bakery and 195,426 square feet for the warehouse/industrial portion, as well as all the parking for the entire project. Property access would be from Heybourne and Bliss roads. A future phase, according to project documents, includes construction of the second building for a 225,899-square-foot bakery. The company expects to start out employing 15 people per shift. They also plan to lease out a portion of the structure to other manufacturers. Proponents said that at most, employee counts for the property could eventually reach 120 per shift. In approving the variance for less parking, planners pointed out that Douglas County’s parking requirements for factories are out of date, since modern manufacturers tend to have a lower number of workers per square foot. “In the past decade, industrial and warehousing operations have been evolving to significantly decrease the need for human power to produce, store and distribute goods due to various levels of automation,” according to the staff report recommending approval. Marson’s project application concludes as much, noting in a statement of project justification that the last major update to Douglas County code parking standards was in 1996 and that many of the county’s parking regulations are based on studies 25-50 years old. “It is a fact that technology greatly outpaces the parking demand studies and local parking code requirements and updates,” according to the letter. “Manufacturing, warehouse and distribution, and light industry in general, is much more efficient and requires far fewer employees on a factory floor than was necessary 25 years ago.” The project will be in sight of the Starbucks Roasting Plant, which marks 20 years in June since it announced it had selected Carson Valley for its warehouse facility.
NNBW Editor Kevin MacMillan contributed to this report. This story has been corrected from its original version to report the 6-0 vote occurred April 13; the initial version incorrectly reported that date as Feb. 13. The NNBW apologizes for the error.