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RALEIGH — Sara Lee Frozen Bakery, a provider of baked desserts, treats and snacks, will create 108 jobs as it expands its food manufacturing center in Edgecombe County, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Monday. The company will invest an additional $19.8 million in the bakery, located in Tarboro.
“Food manufacturers like Sara Lee Frozen Bakery choose communities that can help them succeed and for 30 years, Tarboro has been that place,” Cooper said. “Sara Lee has decided to expand on their decades-long partnership because they know this community well, and it has the workforce they need to reach their goals.”
Sara Lee Frozen Bakery was officially formed in 2018 as part of a divestiture from Tyson Foods. While the frozen bakery entity is relatively new, the Sara Lee brand has existed since the 1950s and is renowned for frozen desserts.
Headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, the company operates three bakeries in Michigan, Massachusetts and North Carolina. The Tarboro bakery employs more than 650 people and produces a wide array of frozen bakery and dessert products, including croissants, biscuits, pound cake, muffins, brownies and cheesecake.
“Sara Lee Frozen Bakery recently celebrated the 30-year anniversary of our Tarboro bakery — a milestone that demonstrates the dedication of our employees and our commitment to the Tarboro community,” said Craig Bahner, CEO of Sara Lee Frozen Bakery. “We are so pleased to be the recipient of the One North Carolina grant, which will enable the expansion of our bakery, bolster production of our irresistible foods and create more jobs in Edgecombe County.”
“This is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for Sara Lee Frozen Bakery and we’re confident that Edgecombe County and North Carolina is the right place for the company to expand,” said Secretary of Commerce Anthony M. Copeland. “The company continues to innovate and perfect its operations and product mix and we’re proud to support them in their work.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce was instrumental in supporting the company’s expansion decision.
Salaries for the new jobs will vary by position but will average $40,266, higher than the Edgecombe County average annual salary of $34,401.
A performance-based grant of $500,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate Sara Lee Frozen Bakery’s expansion of its existing facility in North Carolina. The One N.C. Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One N.C. grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.
“This is great news for our community,” said state Sen. Milton F. “Toby” Fitch. “These good-paying jobs will lift up more families in Edgecombe and surrounding counties and benefit the entire area.”
“We’re proud to call Sara Lee Frozen Bakery one of our largest employers,” said state Rep. Shelly Willingham. “We’re excited about this new phase in their plan for growth. We know they’ll continue to thrive in Tarboro.”
In addition to North Carolina Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Community College System, Carolinas Gateway Partnership, city of Tarboro and Edgecombe County.