Amy’s Kitchen to add 65 jobs at Pocatello plant

October 9, 2016 GMT

POCATELLO — It was October of 2014 when Amy’s Kitchen — a family-owned company that manufactures organic convenience and frozen foods — opened the doors to its processing plant in Pocatello.

Fast forward two years, and Amy’s Kitchen continues to surge forward. On Saturday, it held a job fair in preparation for an expansion of its current workforce by 65 employees. The plant currently employs approximately 400. The growth Amy’s has enjoyed in Pocatello coincides with the economic improvement the Pocatello-Chubbuck area has experienced.

“It feels good to be a part of that,” said plant manager Luis Espinoza. “When I first arrived and what we have now — it’s so different. You have so many more options for restaurants, more businesses (are) opening. I think we feel proud, and we feel good to be a part of this community.”

The expansion from 400 employees to 465 is tied to the increased production of one of Amy’s Kitchen’s staples: enchiladas. While the Pocatello plant already churns out the dish, the addition of employees will to add a second shift to the food’s production. Espinoza said about 70 percent of the new hires will be inserted into direct production, while the rest will enter into warehouse, sanitation and quality-assurance positions. He estimates the second-shift production will begin in early January.

Because Amy’s Kitchen relies on a philosophy that highlights quality over quantity, each dish is cooked and assembled according to traditional methods instead of being processed by a machine. Though that cooking process requires more labor and more people, the results, Espinoza says, are worth it.

“We make our products from scratch,” he said. “We make food the way you would make food at home, just on a larger scale. … The reason why we need to hire more people is to continue the expansion.”

That expansion isn’t just limited to Amy’s Kitchen’s endeavors in Pocatello. Growth is occurring across the rest of the company. Originally, Espinoza was tasked with heading a newly constructed plant in Goshen, New York, which is still being built. But because of the company’s rapid development, Amy’s Kitchen’s timetable was moved up, and it needed a place for that growth to spread.

That’s when the company bought the plant in Pocatello, which used to process Heinz products before Heinz pulled out of the Gate City in June of 2014.

The move by Amy’s Kitchen to move into the former Heinz plant turned into a resounding win. Espinoza calls the Pocatello facility a “miracle plant,” and he’s been blown away by the work ethic and dedication he’s seen out of his employees over the last two years.

And as Amy’s Kitchen moves ahead with more expansion in the near future and beyond, Espinoza looks forward to hiring more employees. Though the job fair at Amy’s Kitchen was only open Saturday, Espinoza encourages anyone interested to apply, and applications are kept on file and considered for future positions. Espinoza said the company considers the quality of its food and the treatment of it employees as top priorities.

“I’m very impressed with the workforce here,” he said. “The work ethic of the people here is just amazing. … I really would like to thank all the employees that have helped us build what we have in Pocatello so far. … We really have great employees.”