Visalia food processing plant to shut down, lay off 294 workers

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Two days ago, 294 employees of TreeHouse Foods' Visalia facility found out they are losing their jobs. It won't happen right away.

The facility, which produces pretzels and cereal snack mixes, is shutting down sometime early next year.

A press release says, "The decision is consistent with the August 2017 announcement of TreeHouse 2020, the company's restructuring program."

"No one wants to hear that nearly 300 jobs in our community are going to be lost," said Gail Zurek, CEO of Visalia Chamber of Commerce.

When Zurek found out about the closure, she began having conversations with both her board and the Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County.

That led to some productive discussions with other local companies.

"Within the last hour I've received four phone calls from employers with multiple jobs that they have posted," Zurek said. "So I anticipate that those folks will have opportunities, which encourages me."

Between a strong economy and the amount of advance notice given, Zurek believes all employees should be able to find a job locally. Possibly even in the industrial park, where TreeHouse is located.

That part of Visalia is growing, and Zurek says the city as a whole remains a great place to live and work.

TreeHouse Foods estimates the cost of shutting down their Visalia location to be $21-million.
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