Energy bar company plans bakery in Twin Falls

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A private California-based company that makes energy bars and other nutritional products has announced plans to build a 300,000-square foot baking facility in Twin Falls.

Officials from Clif Bar & Co. joined Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and other Twin Falls leaders Thursday in announcing plans for a 300,000-square-foot production facility in the Magic Valley city.

The Twin Falls City Council and urban development leaders also signed off on an incentive deal Thursday, clearing the way for the company to begin construction in early 2015 on a new $160 million plant.

Company executives said they anticipate creating 250 jobs and operating two baking lines when production begins in late 2016, with plans to expand if market demand increases.

The company produces a variety of nutritional products aimed at active and athletic consumers, and its flagship product is the Clif Bar, developed in 1990 by founder Gary Erickson and first available on store shelves in 1992. The company also makes energy gels, trail mix bars and drinks and boasts of using organic, healthy ingredients.

Erickson said he came to appreciate southern Idaho during a summer visit to the state and all the recreational opportunities it has to offer.

“One of our criteria is if you can live there, that’s a good sign,” Erickson said on the decision to expand operations in Twin Falls. “We live where we live, but we could easily live here.”

Under terms of the deal approved Thursday, the new facility will be built at an 89-acre industrial park and just south of the giant Chobani yogurt plant. The deal also has the Urban Renewal Agency kicking in nearly $19 million in improvements through the use of tax increment financing.

The Clif Bar announcement is the second round of positive economic development news this week for the Magic Valley. On Wednesday, Portuguese company Frulact Group announced plans to build a 200,000-square-foot fruit preparation and processing plant in Rupert. Construction is expected to begin later this year and create 100 new jobs when the facility reaches full production levels, according to a story published Thursday by The Times-News (http://bit.ly/U5jf8w ).

Otter said luring a high-profile company like Clif Bar only helps the state’s appeal to other companies looking to expand.

“This gives us pretty good bragging rights,” Otter said.

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Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com

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