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Ruiz Foods Invests $55 Million To Establish East Coast Production Hub In Florence County, South Carolina

Ruiz Food Products, Inc., a producer of leading frozen Mexican food and snack products, selected Florence County, South Carolina, for its newest manufacturing facility and its first production facility on the East Coast. The $55 million investment is expected to generate more than 500 new jobs over the next several years.

Ruiz Foods, which is based in Dinuba, California, is expanding into the Southeast region through the acquisition of a state-of-the-art facility in Florence. Renovation of the former Heinz facility, located in the Pee Dee Touchstone Energy Commerce City Park, is scheduled to begin immediately, and the company plans to begin manufacturing a variety of its nationally distributed El Monterey and Tornados products in 2015. Once the facility is renovated and equipped, initial manufacturing operations are expected to begin in 2015.

"Our expansion strategy included establishing a manufacturing facility on the East Coast. Our products are in high demand with significant growth on the East Coast; and for us at Ruiz Foods, it's all about customer service. After conducting an initial search, we quickly narrowed our choice to this facility in Florence, South Carolina. My compliments to the State of South Carolina, the people of Florence County and the Florence County Economic Development Partnership - their enthusiasm, cooperation, and flexibility made it possible to make our decision quickly,” said Rachel P. Cullen, President/CEO of Ruiz Food Products, Inc.

"We are extremely excited to have this opportunity to become a member of the Florence community and believe our tradition of commitment to our Team Members and the community will be a natural fit. Our corporate culture promotes an open door policy, regular communication meetings, on-site and off-site training, a birthday club, opportunities for internal advancement, competitive wages and benefits, community involvement - a family environment. Our core values include safety, integrity, respect, quality, innovation and teamwork,” Kim Ruiz Beck, Chairman of Ruiz Food Products, Inc. and daughter of Co-founder, Fred Ruiz.

Over the next several years as the facility scales up to full production, Ruiz Foods will employ more than 500 team members, The South Carolina Department of Commerce said. Employment opportunities will include positions in; plant management, building and manufacturing equipment maintenance, facilities management, cold storage, food preparation and assembly, quality assurance, mechanical and electrical maintenance and repair, stocking and inventory, shipping and receiving, accounting, clerical, administrative, and janitorial.

El Monterey is the flagship frozen Mexican food brand for Ruiz Foods and the number-one-selling brand of frozen Mexican food in the United States. Products include burritos, tamales, breakfast burritos and Mexican snacks. The company also operates manufacturing facilities in California and Texas and currently employs about 2,400 team members in the United States.

"Ruiz Foods choosing Florence County for their first facility on the East Coast is a big deal for this local community and for the state as a whole. We share their commitment to quality and customer service, and celebrate their decision to invest $55 million and create more than 500 new jobs,” Governor Nikki Haley said. The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits related to the project.

""I could not be more thrilled with Ruiz's announcement...which is another testament to the continued strength of South Carolina agriculture. This announcement represents untold opportunities for South Carolina farmers, who are the very backbone of our state's thriving economy. I thank Ruiz for their investment in our state, and look forward to the opportunity of showcasing Certified South Carolina products in grocery stores and living rooms across America,” Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers noted.

"Once again, Florence County has proven its dedication to grow and prosper economically. This announcement marks an important milestone in the history of Florence and we are extremely excited to be selected as the location for Ruiz Foods' major expansion. We have no doubt that this premier organization will see success in Florence and continue their rapid growth history,” Buddy Brand, Chairman of the Florence County Economic Development Partnership Board said.

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