Ruiz Foods announced this week it has purchased a former Heinz frozen food processing plant in South Carolina and will begin producing its popular El Monterey and Tornados products there starting in 2015.
The manufacturing facility is in Florence, S.C., which is about 110 miles southeast of Charlotte. A formal announcement with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will take place on Tuesday, June 17.
"Our expansion strategy included establishing a manufacturing facility on the East Coast," said Rachel P. Cullen, president and CEO of Ruiz Food Products Inc. "Our products are in high demand with significant growth on the East Coast."
The California-based company, which is No. 18 in HispanicBusiness' 500 rankings, looked at several locations on the East Coast before buying the Florence plant, which was shuttered by Heinz in 2012. Ruiz Foods said it will start immediately renovating the plant and installing new equipment with initial manufacturing operations starting next year.
Once the plant is up and fully running, Ruiz Foods said the plant will have more than 500 employees in positions including plant management, shipping and receiving and accounting. Ruiz Foods' manufacturing facility is located in Denison, Texas.
"This announcement marks an important milestone in the history of Florence and we are extremely honored to be selected as the location for Ruiz Foods' major expansion," said Buddy Brand, chairman of the Florence County Economic Development Board, in a press release. "The arrival of Ruiz Foods as an integral business in our industrial base is most welcome to our community."
The plant will produce products under its flagship frozen Mexican food brand El Monterey that includes burritos, tamales and breakfast burritos. It will also manufacture Tornados, a crispy, seasoned tortilla snack.
Ruiz Foods is in the midst of a major expansion that includes its corporate headquarters in Dinuba, which is located in California's Central Valley.
The privately held company reported revenues of $600 million in 2013 and employs more than 2,300 people. It was co-founded by father and son, Louis and Fred Ruiz in 1964, and Fred's oldest daughter, Kim, serves as the company's chairman.
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