Anita’s breathes life into former Pure Foods site


San Bernadino, Cal.-based Anita’s Snack Foods held its official ribbon cutting in Kingsport Tuesday morning, about 60 days after beginning operations in the former Pure Foods building in the Gateway Commerce Park at Tri-Cities Crossing. The company acquired the Kingsport operation in May. “Anita’s Mexican Foods is expanding its business across the nation,” CEO Ricardo Robles said. “We are now able to supply customers more efficiently from coast to coast.”

Brim’s Snack Foods had originally won the right to purchase the assets of Pure Foods in March, outbidding Anita’s in the process. Soon afterward, however, Brim’s and Anita’s began talks, said Clay Walker, CEO of NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership. “We had been somewhat disappointed when Brim’s won out originally,” Walker said. “We had talked with the folks from Anita’s. They had met with local officials and they really wanted to be involved in the community.”

Brim’s was more interested in acquiring the assets than in the location, Walker said. “They were never about getting to the employment levels Anita’s wants to reach.”

When Anita’s began operations 30 days ago, roughly 30 employees were brought on. Today that number has already almost doubled, and the company plans to hire more than 100 workers for the Kingsport operation.

“Anita’s has already talked to us about long-term plans regarding potential growth from that facility,” Walker said. “They plan for that growth to come from the east coast and the Southeast.

The 88,000-square-foot building was built by JA Street and Associates specifically for snack food production and is easily expandable, should business growth call for it.

NETWORKS, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and the Kingsport Economic Development Board have all worked to make sure the site becomes a productive driver for the regional economy.

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