Above: Ricardo Alvarez and Jim Street at the Anita’s groundbreaking March 29
When the building that currently houses Anita’s Snack Foods in Kingsport opened under the ownership of Pure Foods back in 2015, much was made of the fact that it was built to accommodate expansion easily. Today, Anita’s is putting that feature to good use.
The company hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking March 29 to announce its plans to expand the facility by around 40,000 square feet, adding 20-30 new jobs in the process. The same company that built the plant, JA Street and Associates, will build the expansion.
Dr. Ricardo Alvarez, president of Anita’s was on hand for the event. “We want to continue growing the business in order to supply great tasting products to our customers, grow employment and serve the communities in the Tri-Cities area,” Alvarez told a crowd of around 50 community and business leaders.
Anita’s was recruited in 2018 to make use of the facility that had been left empty when Pure Foods filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017. The company, headquartered in San Bernadino, Ca., initially began production in Kingsport with around 20 employees in August of last year.
Since then the facility has added production and staff. Alvarez said the company is currently running two shifts a day, six days a week. The facility employs 85-90 people. By the time the expansion is complete and fully staffed, a third shift will be brought on, bringing total employment at the facility to around 120.
Kingsport Mayor John Clark, welcoming Alvarez in both English and Spanish, expressed the city’s gratitude that Anita’s will use the Kingsport location as its center for eastern seaboard production and distribution. The company operates a larger manufacturing facility in San Bernadino to handle west coast clients.
Anita’s produces snacks for both retailers and private label sellers. A company statement regarding range of operations says, “Through our diversity we’ve developed top industry skills and packaging expertise in private label, co-packing, club stores, c-stores, delis, food service, vending, airlines, schools and more. Our customers are welcome to take advantage of our new product and recipe development, package design, and marketing experience.”
In recent years, the company has expanded its lines from its base tortilla products to include corn chips, pellet snacks and extruded snacks. Extruded snacks include puffs and onion rings. Pellet snacks are made from multigrain bases, as well as potato, corn and other vegetables to create shaped products including squares, straws, sticks, rings ripples and twists. The company also makes a variety of taco shells.