Traina, Sierra Pacific buy portion of former vegetable plant
by Nick Rappley | Patterson Irrigator
Nov 21, 2012 | 3101 views | 2 2 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two local businesses have purchased parts of Patterson Vegetable Co., which closed last week.

Patterson Vegetable CEO Eric Schwartz stated Thursday, Nov. 15, in an email the company had completely shut down — officials had been winding down operations since late June.

Patterson-based Traina Dried Fruit and Modesto-based Sierra Pacific Refrigerated Services teamed up to create a new business called Traina Pacific, which purchased the refrigerated packing and warehousing portion of the former Patterson Vegetable Co. property on the east side of the 300 block of First Street.

Sierra Pacific Refrigeration Services had a facility next door to Patterson Vegetable Company at 340 S. First St. and previously did business with the now-defunct processor.

Willie Traina, CEO of Traina Dried Fruit, said his company had formed a partnership with Sierra Pacific Refrigerated Services to help expand his fruit sun drying and packing business at 337 Lemon Ave.

Traina Pacific closed on the sale of the eastern portion of the former Patterson Vegetable Co. on Nov. 7, he said. That complex will soon be renovated, he said.

“We plan to open in April,” Traina said. “We’ll basically be moving most employees to the new facility.”

Operations at the Lemon Avenue site will continue seasonally, but year-round operations will move to the new plant, with Traina relocating more than 100 full-time employees. Traina Pacific expects to add 20 more employees to start, Traina said, and will slowly add more as the company grows.

The sun-dried fruit company now provides 40 name-brand companies with products such as sun-dried tomatoes, apricots and cherries, Traina said.

Meanwhile, other parts of Patterson Vegetable Co. remain on the market.

The main processing plant on the west side of First Street is for sale. San Francisco-based Rabin Worldwide, which specializes in auctioning and selling industrial operations after they close, plans to auction off that plant’s processing equipment on Jan. 22.

Rabin Worldwide purchased the main processing plant, its contents and the administrative office on the 100 block of East Las Palmas Avenue Tuesday, Nov. 6, according to the company’s senior vice president, Michael Bank.

The former Patterson Vegetable Co. office administration building will be sold through a yet-to-be-announced real estate broker, Bank said. The main processing plant across the street will be sold separately through Rabin Worldwide.

Offers are being entertained for the processing plant, though no details have been made available regarding ongoing talks.

Adam Ochoa, secretary-treasurer of Modesto-based Teamsters Local 948, which represented more than 300 full- and part-time Patterson Vegetable Co. rank-and-file workers, did not return a call seeking comment this week.

A sign hung upside down on the front door of the former Patterson Vegetable Co. office building Thursday, Nov. 15, reading “We are closed permanently. You can thank Teamsters Local 948.”

Patterson Vegetable Co. ceased operations June 24 after managers and Teamsters Local 948 members could not come to terms regarding cuts to employee pay and benefits totaling nearly $10 million over a three-year span.

The frozen vegetable processing company’s facility, which was run by Patterson Frozen Foods until 2007, had run continuously for the past 66 years.

The company issued letters April 24 giving employees 60 days notice of impending layoffs, as required by federal law. The company previously sent 60-day layoff notices in December, announcing the plant could close.

Citing unsustainable health and retirement costs, the company repeatedly pleaded with employees to vote for concession packages that amounted to millions in wage and benefit cuts.

Union employees repeatedly voted against the packages, citing their severity. A letter to employees in late March indicated Teamsters officials would rather take their chances in a bankruptcy process than agree to concessions.

The contract with Teamsters Local 948 expired Saturday, June 30. Schwartz said in April that closure was inevitable, as restructuring under bankruptcy law would have been too costly and unpredictable.

Contact Nick Rappley at 892-6187, or nick@pattersonirrigator.com.

Comments
(2)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
redmt
|
December 01, 2012
Great reporting. The sign says one thing and the quote another. So much for accuracy in the news.
aeh4543
|
November 21, 2012
This is good news! I'm glad to see other local businesses being able to expand and put existing facilities to good use.


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