Amy's Kitchen plans $63 million facility, 700 hires in South Carolina

East Coast plant could double in size over time

SANTA ROSA -- Natural prepared foods maker Amy's Kitchen plans to open a $63 million, 700-employee production plant in Greenville, S.C., in January 2012, according to an announcement today by South Carolina officials.

News of the Santa Rosa-based company's plans to purchase a 125,000-square-foot former Sara Lee bakery in Upstate South Carolina and outfit it for East Coast production surfaced in late March. At that time, Amy's Kitchen made a long-term commitment to a large southwest Santa Rosa facility amid consolidation of certain California operations.

The existing facility and "positive business environment" in South Carolina at the state and local level contributed to the decision, according to Andy Berliner, chief executive officer.

"We are pleased to move forward with our plans to locate a new facility in South Carolina, allowing us to expand production capacity and more easily and efficiently reach customers and markets all along the East Coast," he said in a statement.

The purchase of the former bakery and nearby land to accommodate expansion to 250,000 square feet is set to close escrow next week, according to Mark Levin of CNB Ventures in Chicago. He's a former North Bay commercial real estate broker who has been representing Amy's Kitchen in its site search in the Southeast in the past two years. Stump Organization is representing the sellers.

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