JOPLIN, MO.--- A company that's known for making organic rabbit-shaped food products is welcomed into Joplin. "Annie's Homegrown" recently purchased the former Safeway Bakery off of Junge Boulevard. This will be the primary manufacturing facility for their snacks division. The CEO says the plant has a lot of capabilities to expand in Joplin.
"This is our flagship. We've put the bernie stake down here in Joplin," said John Foraker, Annie's Homegrown CEO.
Joplin is what Annie's Homegrown CEO John Foraker jokingly calls the cheddar capital of the world.
"We created cheddar bunnies right here. The business started out very small, and it's grown bigger and bigger over time. So when the opportunity came up to buy this plant from Safeway, we jumped on it," said Foraker.
Thursday community members, employees, and the company's mascot gathered for a ribbon cutting for Annie's at the former Safeway plant.
"Annie's selection of the Joplin facility is a great testament to the workforce here, to the people who everyday produce this great quality product," said Rob O'Brian, Joplin Chamber of Commerce.
The 140 former Safeway employees will continue to work at the plant. Rodney Long says he's ready for the switch in products.
"The products, you know it's organic products. It's good for everyone, so it's going to be a neat relationship," said Rodney Long, Shipping Supervisor.
Foraker foresees a long runway of growth at the plant.
"We're going to be investing significant capital in the plant to improve the quality, to improve the through-put, all those things we're going to be investing for the future here," said Foraker.
The plant will begin making Annie's products tomorrow. Plant leaders say they can make 3,000 cases in an eight hour shift.
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