Annie's Officials Cut Ribbon on New Manufacturing Plant-Safeway - KOAM TV 7

Annie's Homegrown ribbon cuttingAnnie's Homegrown ribbon cutting

Annie's Homegrown ribbon cutting

Annie's Officials Cut Ribbon on New Manufacturing Plant-Safeway Bakery

 Annie's Homegrown,  a nationally known organic food company has taken over the Safeway baking plant in Joplin to make it its own.

Bernie the bunny joined officials in cutting the ribbon to mark a new future for the Safeway baking plant in Joplin. Built 67 years ago, its now home to manufacturing for  Annie's Homegrown products.

Workers have baked Annie’s cheddar cracker bunnies since 2002 but were initially apprehensive about Safeway being sold.

Break supervisor Tonia Biggs says, “Everybody was scared, everybody. And uh, we're all working together now, its our family.

Production lines are down for just three days during the ownership change  and inventory, but employees are excited  that when they come back things  will be just like they've always been.

Bakers union steward, Debbie Long says, “I was scared but  they kept the union, kept my five weeks vacation, everything is staying the same. So I’m good.”

In fact,  Annie’s recognized workers with many years at the plant  today, some like Long with more than twenty years at the plant.  But workers are also embracing a culture change that comes with AnniesAnnie'sg from institutional gray to colored walls bearing the Bernie the  bunny logo.

Andy Souder, an engineer  and maintenance manager says, “Its gonna liven things up, get us out of this institution, come to work, do our factory job, into a little more friendly environment.”

It’s not just color, the company plans to update equipment for efficiency, productivity and safety. 

CEO John Foraker says, “Ultimately, we will be adding jobs. We've been growing the business about  twenty percent a year.”

About  fortypercforty percentompany's business is snacks, produced here for more than a decade by quality employees which prompted  Annie’s  to make Joplin its first manufacturing home. 

Foraker says, “We're about 25 years old. We couldn't be more excited for hte future, for not only what we can do for the company  with the facility  here, but also for  what we can do for the local community in growing this business.”

 Production lines are to resume operations at Annie's on Friday.

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