Reser’s Fine Foods begins 250,000-square-foot plant in Pasco

A Portland food manufacturer known for its potato salad is expanding in the Mid-Columbia with a new processing plant in Franklin County, just north of the Pasco city border.

Reser’s Fine Foods broke ground on a 250,000-square-foot facility plant on North Capital Avenue, east of Highway 395, shortly after it closed a $3 million deal for the 38-acre site in June.

It declined to disclose the project cost. Franklin County has not released construction permit data that would indicate a project value. It could exceed $300 million based on construction costs for the proposed Darigold plant of $1,250 per square foot. The company declined to confirm through a spokeswoman if the figure is reasonable.

The land sale is part of a combined sale involving Cox Family Land LLC. It sold the 55-acre northern part of its property to the Port of Pasco for a new industrial park (See related story here.) and the southern acres to Reser’s. Both paid $80,000 an acre.

Reser’s is not a port tenant. The Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC) is working to see if Reser’s is eligible for state or local incentive funds. 

“We want to make sure they stay here in Washington,” said Karl Dye, president and chief executive officer.

Randy Hayden, the port’s executive director, called it a welcome move by a company that already has a big presence in Pasco. Its 110,500-square-foot processing plant at 5310 Industrial Way in Pasco dates to 1998.

“We were very glad to see Reser’s choose Pasco for their expansion plant. They were looking at other sites in the country and chose Pasco because of the good business climate here and their good experience here,” Hayden said.

The new prepared foods plant will be state-of-the art and accommodate rising demand for convenience foods, it said in a written response to questions submitted by the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

“That trend has really driven the growth in our business, and this new plant will help ensure we can keep up with the continued demand,” it said, adding that the new facility will employ technology to reduce water and power use.

Reser’s produces side dishes at its existing Pasco plant, where it employs about 250 people. It plans to “repurpose” the facility once the new one is operational.

Reser’s is a family-owned company that launched in 1950 to sell potato salad from a recipe developed by Mildred Reser.

Operating as Mrs. Reser’s Salads, it sold side dishes to local stores to supplement the family’s income. It expanded over the years to offer other categories, growing to an organization with revenue that has grown “well beyond” $1 billion.

It employs more than 4,000 people at 14 major facilities in eight communities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Its prepared salads and side dishes are a staple of grocery store deli departments across the region. It produces deli salads, deli sides and entrees, dips, Mexican foods, cut potatoes and desserts. It markets its food products under the brands Reser’s, Main St. Bistro, Stonemill Kitchens, Don Pancho and Baja Café.

It is one of Oregon’s largest privately-held companies and is the namesake for Reser Stadium on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis.

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