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Amy's Kitchen plans to add 800 jobs in Santa Rosa

  • Guillermina Hernadez, left and Karina Gonsalez place a dash of corn in to an enchilada meal, Tuesday March 5, 2013 at Amy's Kitchen in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Amy's Kitchen, one of the nation's largest makers of natural frozen foods, is planning to build a second manufacturing plant in Santa Rosa that one day could employ an additional 800 workers.

The Petaluma-based company, which already has 1,000 workers in Sonoma County, is proposing the largest business expansion in the city in at least a decade, according to Santa Rosa officials.

The new plant's building and equipment would cost between $40 million and $50 million, company CEO and co-founder Andy Berliner said this week. He has looked at potential sites but has yet to select one.

The family-owned company also has enough land for such a plant at its sister facility near Medford, Ore., Berliner said, but "clearly our ideal and our preference is to be here."

Santa Rosa Mayor Scott Bartley and other city officials welcomed the news.

"That is exactly the kind of stuff we need to see in the city," Bartley said. "The city will do whatever we can to try and accommodate them."

Berliner revealed his expansion plans Monday during an interview on the company's 25th year in business. With him were his wife and co-founder, Rachel, and their 25-year-old daughter Amy, the company's namesake.

Amy's Kitchen produces vegetarian frozen entrees, canned soups and other convenience food products. It employs nearly 1,900 workers in Sonoma County and elsewhere.

The company projects sales of $380 million this year. Steady growth in its frozen food products has propelled it into the ranks of the nation's largest food processors.

The Berliners founded the company in 1988 and opened a plant in Santa Rosa in 1994. They built a second facility near Medford in 2006 and started a small plant in Corby, England in 2011.

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