California-based tortilla producer Franco Whole Foods will expand its operations into Las Cruces, bringing 160 new jobs with an average salary of $37,000 plus benefits.
“As we continue to work to diversify and grow New Mexico’s private-sector economy, we are proud to welcome California-based Franco Whole Foods to Las Cruces,” said Gov. Susana Martinez in a news release announcing the new business.
Gus Franco, president of Franco Whole Foods LLC, said, “New Mexico has become especially welcoming to manufacturers through reforms made in the state’s tax policies that encouraged us to set up shop and grow here.”
New Mexico Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Jon Barela said Franco Whole Foods is a producer and exporter of tortillas which means they don’t compete with local tortilla makers, “and they bring dollars into New Mexico from out of state,.
Barela, the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance, Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima, and Mike and Gus Franco of Franco Whole Foods joined Governor Martinez for the announcement on Monday.
The New Mexico Economic Development Department will contribute $75,000 in Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) funds to help offset costs of upgrading their warehouse to meet the needs of manufacturing tortillas and food safety standards.
Franco Whole Foods also is expected to qualify for JTIP, which assists companies by reimbursing 50 percent of wages while training New Mexico workers for new positions. The City of Las Cruces will also complement training dollars through its Wage+ Program.
Franco Whole Foods is a national supplier of uncooked tortillas for Whole Foods and Costco. The company will convert the long-vacant warehouse on 875 W. Amador Ave. into a modern manufacturing facility that will meet food safety standards.
Positions include quality assurance, packaging, mechanics, production workers, and manufacturing and food processing jobs. Franco Whole Foods was founded by Angel Franco in El Paso. In the 1980s his sons Gus and Mike Franco launched a tortilla manufacturing business in San Diego. Gus developed the uncooked flour tortilla recipe in 1993.