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Friday, August 15, 2014, 11:29 am

Amy’s Kitchen to employ 150 at new Santa Rosa plant

Organic food-maker cites faster-than expected growth

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    SANTA ROSA — Amy’s Kitchen, a fast-growing Petaluma-based manufacturer of frozen and packaged vegetarian food, revealed plans to add a facility in southwest Santa Rosa that will process entrees, taquitos and breakfast sandwiches, and employ about 150.

    Andy Berliner, CEO, Amy's Kitchen

    Andy Berliner, CEO of Amy’s Kitchen

    The 56,000-square-foot building, located on Bellevue Avenue, was formerly the home of G&G Specialty Foods. Amy’s will sublease the building from Saputo Inc., a dairy company based in Montreal.

    Amy’s Kitchen has estimated revenue of $400 million and employs nearly 2,000 people.

    “Our growth has been faster than we expected this year, so we had to move quickly,” said Andy Berliner, CEO and co-founder with his wife, Rachel, on Thursday.

    They named Amy’s Kitchen after their daughter. Keen consumer appetite for its organic products stimulated growth of 23 percent in the past year, the company said, nearly double expectations.

    Amy’s scrapped an earlier plan proposed in March 2013 that would have entailed a $50 million plant. The company backed off when faced with the prospect of fees — estimated at $34 million — to obtain needed water and wastewater.

    Amy’s later announced plans for a $95 million plant in Goshen, N.Y. that will be ready in about two years.

    Amy's Kitchen

    Ronald Stith (front) and Cenovio Hurtado work at Amy’s Kitchen making vegetarian food. (credit: Crista Jeremiason, The Press Democrat)

    Sonoma County BEST, an economic development organization led by executive director Carolyn Stark, worked with Amy’s to propel the latest project forward.

    Amy’s was offered state sales tax incentives, a break on electricity rates from PG&E and water-conservation assistance from Santa Rosa, according to Ms. Stark.

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