Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Just Desserts to open manufacturing plant in Fairfield

By Kevin W. Green
From page A1 | March 11, 2015 |

FAIRFIELD — The award-winning bakery Just Desserts will open a 75,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Fairfield, the city’s Economic Development Department announced Tuesday.

The bakery, founded in San Francisco in 1974, will open its new location at 5000 Fulton Drive in May, according to a press release announcing the move.

Fairfield Mayor Harry Price, when asked about Tuesday’s announcement, spoke of the message the Just Desserts move sends to those who live here.

“It’s more good news for Fairfield residents seeking to work for a first-class facility without having to commute,” Price said. “It tells our young people you don’t have to spend two hours commuting to a job out of the area.”

“This is helping to make Fairfield a center for quality food products,” Price said, referring to other local food producers such as Jelly Belly Candy Co., Calbee America Inc. and Guittard Chocolate Co.

The Fairfield location will house the company’s production facility and some administrative offices; while the company’s San Francisco location will have administrative offices and an innovation center, including a test kitchen, the release said.

“Our business enjoyed double-digit growth in 2014 through the introduction of our new organic and vegan product offerings,” Michael J. Mendes, Just Desserts’ chief executive, said in the release.

“With the introduction of new products, our new proprietary-packaging platform and expanded production facility, we expect accelerated growth in the future.”

The company is moving from Oakland because of its need for a larger facility, the release said. The Fairfield site is double the size of Just Desserts’ current bakery in Oakland. It is being designed and equipped to handle the company’s new organic and vegan baked items and will have enhanced production capabilities, as well as an in-house quality control laboratory, the release said.

Mendes said the company conducted an exhaustive search for a new site, even looking as far away as Nevada and Texas.

“We chose Fairfield because of the value of real estate, the city’s business-friendly environment and the fact that the transportation lanes are attractive for shipping and transporting product,” he said.

“We also found that the access to skilled workers in the area is well-suited to our needs.”

At full production, Just Desserts estimates it will create more than 100 new jobs at the Fairfield facility.

“We are pleased that Just Desserts will be joining our community of top food and beverage companies that have found a sweet spot in Fairfield,” said Ken Cantrell, senior economic development project manager with Fairfield’s Economic Development Department, in the release.

“We have attracted companies because of our commitment to building a strong infrastructure that includes an ample supply of water and a state-of-the-art wastewater system.”

The addition of Just Desserts will also contribute to the city’s industrial base, the mayor said.

Price commended the city’s Economic Development Department for continuing to go out and attract businesses like Just Desserts, with a strong growth pattern and proven track record.

Just Desserts is an artisan-inspired baking company that makes premium desserts and wholesome sweet snacks that are sold in grocery and convenience retailers from coast to coast.

Reach Kevin W. Green at 427-6974 or