The Flowers Baking Co. of Modesto completed its $18 million expansion, hired 100 additional employees and fired up its new bread-making line this month. Now its baking about 100,000 loaves of sliced bread per day.
In July, when Georgia-based Flowers Foods Co. acquired Fresh Start Bakery at 736 Mariposa Road, its 70 employees were producing buns and rolls for food-service customers.
Since then, the new owners have added 150,000 square feet to the bakery, which previously had been an S&W Fine Foods cannery before Tri Valley Growers collapsed in 2001.
Flowers installed a high-speed breadmaking line that runs 12 hours a day. The facilitys other production line operates around the clock, baking up about 500,000 dinner roll and hot dog and hamburger buns a day.
Together, the bakerys 170 full-time employees supply all the Natures Own, Wonder, Home Pride and Sara Lee brand breads and buns in Northern California.
Ive been in Modesto a long time, and I cant tell you how excited I am to have all these good jobs come here, said Keith Dexter, the Modesto bakerys vice president. We were really lucky to have Flowers (buy the bakery). Its the fastest-growing bakery in the United States ... and were definitely going to grow.
Flowers is one of the largest producers of fresh packaged bakery foods in the nation, and the Modesto facility is its only one in California.
The Modesto bakerys president, Paul Holshouser, said the 100 recently hired employees work on the new line and in sales and distribution. He said Flowers could hire more local employees if market demand increases enough to require a second loaf-production shift.
We strive to provide good jobs, competitive wages and benefits, and a pleasant working environment, Holshouser said. Our team is excited to be baking great products for Northern California right here in Modesto, and we appreciate the support weve received from the city of Modesto and Stanislaus County.
Modesto Mayor Garrad Marsh said Flowers is providing good, stable jobs for our community and is just the type of business Modesto needs.
David White, chief executive officer of the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance, also praised the company: For them to make a sizable investment in Stanislaus County speaks volumes about how our county continues to be strategically important to the food processing industry.
Those interested in jobs at Flowers can apply online at www.abm.com by clicking on the careers link and then on careers search.
Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2196.