Ruiz Foods expansion bringing over 700 jobs to Florence County

Ruiz Foods expansion bringing over 700 jobs to Florence County
Source: Audrey Biesk
Source: Audrey Biesk
The crowd at the Ruiz Foods expansion fiesta. (Source: Audrey Biesk)
The crowd at the Ruiz Foods expansion fiesta. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Ruiz Foods is bringing in 705 new jobs to the Florence County facility.

The official announcement was held during a Ruiz Foods Fiesta Tuesday morning with South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster. The company is making a $79 million investment and doubling its current capacity and manufacturing.

"It all starts with our people are strong, they are resilient and some of them are the leaders in these big companies who could go anywhere in the world but South Carolina is a handshake state," McMaster said. "When someone gives you your word, you can take it to the bank and that's very important to people who invest in multi millions of dollars, sometimes hundreds of millions, into a new plant or expansion in South Carolina."

The family-owned business employs more than 3,600 people across California, its base, Texas and South Carolina. Florence County is considered the East Coast home.

"It started with Mr. Ruiz and his father, so it's three generations of Ruizs represented in the company and their values and things that are important to them are the same things that are important to South Carolinians," McMaster said.

The fiesta included other people like Sen. Hugh Leatherman, South Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers, Florence County Economic Development, Florence County Council and Florence City Council members, and other business leaders.

"As we say in Florence County, we don't want to give anybody an excuse to not do business here." said Florence County Council Chairman Kent Caudle.

Caudle added that it doesn't happen overnight, and the county and economic development invests in infrastructure to continue to improve the quality of life in Florence County.

Ruiz is doubling the size of the 225,000-square-foot facility and adding three production lines over seven years.

Rachel Cullen, president and CEO of Ruiz Foods, said in order to make more products, the company needs more frozen warehouse space as well, which is where the 705 new jobs comes in.

"Fred Ruiz always calls the team members his secret sauce. It's the people - it really is - that makes the difference," Cullen said.

Ruiz Foods has the No. 1 frozen Mexican food brand,  El Monterey, and the leading roller grill snack brand, Tornados. Some of the packaging will read, "proudly made in Ruiz Foods Florence."

Ruiz Foods is still hiring from the first go-around in 2014. Ruiz officials said the groundbreaking for the first production line will be fall 2017 and expects it to be operational by winter 2019.

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