Potato salad plant to add 500 jobs in Halifax

Posted January 19, 2010

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— An Oregon-based company that makes a range of food products, from potato salad to tortillas, plans to expand its plant in Halifax and add 500 jobs, officials said Tuesday.

Reser's Fine Foods Inc. opened a 160,000-square-foot plant in the Halifax Industrial Center off N.C. Highway 903 nine years ago to make refrigerated macaroni and pasta salads and desserts like puddings and gelatins. Since then, production has ballooned from 40 million pounds a year to 100 million pounds last year, plant manager Randy Earle said.

Halifax plant of Reser's Fine Foods Halifax to become food firm's East Coast HQ

Earle said the plant was expanded by 40 percent two years ago, and Reser's plans to expand it again in three phases to accommodate growing production. The company will invest $15 million this year in the first phase of the expansion, officials said.

"Every year we've been here, we've grown," Earle said. "We're a growth-oriented company, and we're going to grow in the future."

Gov. Beverly Perdue said the company expects to add at least 100 jobs a year over the next five years and transform the plant into Reser's East Coast headquarters.

"The stronger we are in every town, the stronger we are in every section of the state," Perdue said in announcing the expansion.

She compared the jobs to "banana pudding from my mother," noting eastern North Carolina needs plenty of new jobs.

Halifax County has a 13.6 percent unemployment rate, and more than a quarter of the residents live below the poverty line, according to state and federal figures. The median household income in 2007 was $29,236.

The jobs will pay an average of $23,000 a year, plus benefits, officials said.

State officials said Reser's will qualify for a $1 million grant from the One North Carolina Fund. The fund provides money to recruit companies that spur job creation, and firms must meet specific hiring and investment targets to obtain the grant.

Reser's is a family-owned company that started in 1950 near Portland, Ore., when Mildred and Earl Reser began commercially producing and marketing potato salad. It now is among the nation's leading providers of refrigerated salads, dips, spreads and Mexican foods to supermarkets and restaurants, and it has 12 plants and about 2,000 employees in the U.S.

The company markets its products under the Reser's, Stonemill Kitchens, Baja Cafe, Don Pancho and Mrs. Kinser's brand names.

The football stadium at Oregon State University is named for the Reser family.


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  • 1 of the original Americans Jan 20, 2010

    Yankees' stay home (or any other state for that matter!!!)

    Not a "Yankee" but I was asked to come here because at the time there were not enough highly qualified people in this area to do my job!!! and I purchase here, I pay taxes here! So I am and many like me are more than welcome here we are needed here! and if we were to leave you would be broke ...

  • timothycapwell Jan 20, 2010

    Good to see that area get some good news! Unfortunately, I bet it's that Yankee kind of potato salad...the kind with bell peppers and miracle whip in it. Yuck!

  • 6079 SMITH W Jan 19, 2010

    Welcome to unions, please.

  • killerkestrel Jan 19, 2010

    Pity they have to tear out a new road that was built with state money, and build another new road.

  • scientistjo Jan 19, 2010

    protestthis, I completely agree. People are blaming everyone but themselves for what's wrong with their lives.

  • protestthis Jan 19, 2010

    Yeah.. when we've had about all the complaining about illegals taking all our jobs - now we are going to stoop so low as to start lashing out on the "Yanks" from up north taking all our jobs.

    Lets not only barricade the borders of the country - but lets also close the state down -- Yankees' stay home (or any other state for that matter!!!) You are NOT WELCOME HERE! You are only welcome if you come to stay for a short vacation at the beach where you can spend a lot of money - then go home.


  • justafella Jan 19, 2010

    This is good news, especially for one of the poorer counties in the State.

  • buckykatt020998 Jan 19, 2010

    Reduced to making potato salad? I'll take it. You would not believe how many jobs in this area (mine included) are temp service jobs. The plants around here don't want to pay benefits to their workers. Beggars can't be choosers so we have to take the jobs or not work at all. Oh, did I mention I have to drive 49 miles round trip daily to my temp job?

  • coolwill43 Jan 19, 2010

    Good News; guess who they will be hiring, it want be people authorized to work in the United States. What a great draw for more illegal immigrants to this State.

  • Adelinthe Jan 19, 2010

    "So the good jobs keep going to yankees moving to Charlotte and Raleigh and the natives get the manure jobs that can't be shiiped to China." -stumpypt

    Doesn't matter.

    A job is a job, and there haven't been ANY for a long long time.

    God bless.