By Shel Segal, Beacon Media News
Singing “The Stars at Night are Big and Bright,” officials from the state of Texas recently toured the Sriracha plant in Irwindale with hopes of luring the sauce maker to the Lone Star State, according to a published report.
Tran also recently said he was planning on staying at the $40 million, 650,000-square-foot location on Azusa Canyon Road. However, while he said was going to move, he is now saying he is going to build a second plant – possibly in Texas as state officials have recently visiting him at his Irwindale plant, according to that report.
All this comes in the wake last month of the city of Irwindale declaring Tran’s company, Huy Fong Foods, a public nuisance “because residents complained about harsh odors emanating from the plant,” according to that report.
In response to the city’s actions, Tran then invited local and out-of-state officials to come by the factory and have a first-hand look, according to that report.
Texas officials are also apparently hoping Tran follows in Toyota’s footsteps, which has made public a plan to ship approximately 3,000 jobs from its Torrance headquarters to the Lone Star State, according to that report.
And Texas officials also pitched their state as a “business-friendly climate” that will help a business grow as the state has low taxes and low regulations, according to that report.
The stumbling block for Tran is basic: how to get the company’s specialized jalapeño variety to grow in Texas. That pepper is then “crushed into the hot sauce,” according to that report.
The chilies used in the sauce were imported from Mexico 25 years ago, according to that report, with the current hybrid plant now used being spicier than the original.
Tran is also expected to have his farmers talk to agricultural experts in Texas before visiting the Lone Star State to look for a second site, according to that report.
At the current rate, Tran said in that published report that he “will outgrow his Irwindale facility by 2017″ and that he has been growing up to 20 percent each year for some time now.
As far as moving, Tran said he has only so far considered the state of Texas and he “has vowed he will not expand outside of the U.S.,” according to that report.
And as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge has sided with the city of Irwindale, city officials are recommending a second delay, “voting on a resolution that would put Tran under a 90-day deadline to reduce the factory’s odors during the fall chili grinding season,” according to that report.
(Shel Segal can be reached at [email protected]. He can be followed via Twitter @segallanded.)