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Ruiz Foods adding to workforce as production ramps up
March 31, 2016 - BY JOE PERRY, Morning News - Tornados this spring will bring more jobs.

As Ruiz Foods looks to crank up production of its popular convenience store roller grill snack food known as Tornados, more folks will be added to the workforce, said Rachel P. Cullen, president and CEO of Ruiz Food Products Inc., in a press release.

On Feb. 2, production got underway on El Monterey bean and cheese burritos – one of seven flavors from the family-owned company’s original multi-pack line. Once the second line of production hits its stride, Ruiz Foods Florence will add 60 team members, bringing the local workforce up to 225, Cullen said in the release.

Based in Dinuba, California, Ruiz Foods took over the former H.J. Heinz facility a little more than a year ago with plans to transform it into an East Coast distribution center as part of a $60 million investment.

Construction of a large freezer distribution center brought the total square footage to 225,000 of the site inside Pee Dee Touchstone Energy City industrial park. A full scale renovation took place before production ramped up as the building was taken down to a shell and many energy efficient measures were put in place.

Daryl Davids, the senior human resources manager at the Florence facility, said everything is moving along at a steady clip.

“We’re doing very well, the workers are proud of the products they’re making and focused completely on food safety and people safety,” he said.

Several milestones have been hit as far as production numbers go, and products made here in Florence are reaching local grocery stores, he said.

“And we’re very proud of that,” he said.

A 50,000 square-foot new freezer distribution center has been an excellent addition to the facility, he said.

“Our business overall is just fantastic and sales are fantastic,” he said.

Kim Ruiz Beck gave an inspiring speech to workers during a recent visit, he said, and he looks forward to Ruiz family members and company officials visiting Florence in May.


Cullen said in the release that community celebrations are scheduled for May and will feature some traditional facets of the culture of Mexico.

“We will be holding fiestas in each of the five Florence school districts complete with traditional Mexican pinatas and a mariachi band,” she said in the release. “Many students will be able to enjoy a variety of our products that are manufactured just for schools meeting the USDA’s nutrition guidelines. Products include burritos, chicken soft tacos, rolled breakfast tacos, or whole grain Tornados.”

Having Ruiz Foods in Florence has helped Joe W. King do his job more effectively. King, the executive director of the Florence County Economic Development Partnership, said he’s recently taken companies being recruited to visit Ruiz Foods.

“I want them to talk about the support they get from local government and other organizations and the workforce,” he said. “I’m paid to say how great Florence is but they’re not. I love for existing manufacturers already here to help in the process.”

If another food distributor is considering locating here, they often have questions for like-minded businesses.

“We always use our existing industries. They’re great ambassadors in helping us market Florence,” he said.

Last Published: January 13, 2017 1:28 PM
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