DINUBA, Calif. (KFSN) --More than 160 people found out this morning they will be out of work come April.
Coca-Cola announced Tuesday they are closing their Odwalla facility in Dinuba due to a business decision that they say will bring greater efficiency and effectiveness to their business. The juice company, which is owned by Coca-Cola, has been in Dinuba since 1993. "And I remember the original owner Greg Steltenpohl pulled up here in front of city hall in his van and he had samples of the juice," said Dinuba Assistant City Manager Jayne Anderson.
Anderson says the news of the Odwalla closure, which will affect 164 employees, came as a complete shock to city officials. They first heard about it as a rumor, and then they confirmed the closure with Coca-Cola.
As part of a statement, Coke said: "Coca-Cola North America continuously seeks ways to optimize our distribution and warehouse network to provide the highest-quality products and best customer service. After careful consideration, we have decided to move production of our Odwalla beverages from a company-owned facility to a co-packer. Doing so will bring greater efficiency and effectiveness to our business and allow us to better serve our customers."
"We are still here as a community and we hope people stay with the community and find other jobs here, but we're just very sad to hear the news," Anderson said.
Coke says they will treat every Odwalla employee with dignity and respect through the closure process. Employees will have the opportunity to apply for other jobs at coke. Anderson says another resource for them is the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board.
The plant will stop operations on April 18th and a representative with Coca-Cola says the closure should be completed by mid-2016.