(08/26/13) - The Vlasic pickle facility in Lapeer County celebrated its official
They've added about 30 permanent jobs and 500 seasonal positions.
"Today was the ultimate celebration for everybody here," said Gary Lauber, Vlasic plant manager.
Gov. Rick Snyder was on hand for the ribbon cutting. He is touting this expansion as another shining example of Michigan's come back story.
Pinnacle Foods, Vlasic's parent company, spent $14 million to expand operations here.
Pinnacle owns many other iconic food brands, including Duncan Hines, Birds Eye and Mrs. Butterworth. They're also acquiring the Wishbone salad dressing brand.
Company executive Tony Fernandez says they're always looking for ways to improve and become more cost effective.
"We're confident this investment will pay off for a more efficient manufacturing operation here in Imlay City so we can continue to grow our Vlasic business in the future," Fernadez said. "The expansion also creates many ripple effects in the community, the great majority of Vlasic cucumbers are sources fresh from U.S. farmers in Michigan and surrounding areas and packed within days of harvest."
The Vlasic pickle facility expansion calls for at least 29 permanent jobs and 500 seasonal positions. Right now, they're in the middle of their peak summer season. Just last week, 1,000 people were working in the plant.
"We have over a 1,000 people working in this facility last week and that's even more than we thought. We created more than 29 jobs, a lot of great news," Lauber said.
These new jobs have the potential to generate more economic activity and spending throughout the region. That's why the Governor is keeping his focus on one of the state's key economic sectors.
"It's doing all the things you want to see our AG industry do. They're doing research and development, value added processing and exporting, just a wonderful win for Michigan and it's creating jobs," Snyder said. "It's not just a Michigan product, it's an icon to us, but it's being shipped, and it has the number one slot for pickles in the United States for pickles. That's cool, it's exciting."
One of the newest hires at the facility is 28-year-old Kenshanna Smoots, of Flint. She is excited to part of the company's expansion in Mid-Michigan.
Smoots got the job on July 14, after being laid off from the Flint Schools only weeks prior.
"It's been good so far, a lot of pickles, I've never seen this much pickles in my life," she said.
Smoots does a little bit of everything at her new job.
"I don't have an exact title, I'll be a topper one minute, a cap helper, an inspector," she said.
While the company continues to find ways to better itself, Smoots looks forward to an exciting career.
It's a big opportunity," she said. "I get to learn different things and I get to grow with the company as the years grow."
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