500 jobs coming to the Pee Dee



based Ruiz Foods

will locate

in the old Heinz frozen foods plant in Florence and will create 500 new jobs.

Ruiz Foods will use the new site as a manufacturing center for its nationally-distributed El Monterey and Tornados products. Products include burritos, tamales, breakfast burritos, and Mexican snacks. Tornados are a snack on the convenience store roller grill.

The company will immediately begin renovations of the former Heinz facility. The company plans to begin manufacturing there in 2015.

Over the next several years, Ruiz Foods will employ more than 500 people. Employment opportunities will include positions in plant management, building and manufacturing equipment maintenance, facilities management, cold storage, food preparation and assembly, quality assurance, mechanical and electrical maintenance and repair, stocking and inventory, shipping and receiving, accounting, clerical, administrative, and janitorial.

A formal announcement is expected June 17th at the facility. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is expected to speak.

"Our expansion strategy included establishing a manufacturing facility on the East Coast," said Rachel P. Cullen, President and CEO, Ruiz Food Products, Inc. "Our products are in high demand with significant growth on the East Coast; and for us at Ruiz Foods, it's all about customer service."

The former Heinz frozen food processing facility was built in 2008.

"After conducting an initial search, we quickly narrowed our choice to this facility in Florence, South Carolina," adds Cullen. "My compliments to the State of South Carolina, the people of Florence County and the Florence County Economic Development Partnership - their enthusiasm, cooperation, and flexibility made it possible to make our decision quickly."

Co-founded by father and son, Louis and Fred Ruiz in 1964, Ruiz Foods is a privately held corporation. "Hispanic Business Magazine" consistently ranks Ruiz Foods among the top 20 Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States; and among the top ten U.S. Hispanic-owned manufacturing firms in the United States.