Bimbo Bakeries rising to the occasion in Lehigh Valley

By LVEDC Staff on September 24, 2013

bimboAny way you slice it, Bimbo Bakeries is going to have a whopper of a business here in Lehigh Valley.

Between producing the buns for Burger King restaurants across the Northeastern United States – and baking a bevy of muffins, breads and cakes for the Thomas’ English muffins and Entenmann’s Sara Lee brands – you can rest assured the flour will be flying at the company’s new Upper Macungie plant when it opens this January.

Raymond Piovesan, food service manager at Bimbo, and Thomas Morse, the new plant manager, offered Allentown Rotarians a bird’s eye view of their spiffy new digs during a recent Friday luncheon at Holiday Inn Allentown Center City. The proposed 240,000-square-foot plant is situated on 30 acres and will employ about 180.

“This company is committed to bread and this company is committed to rolls,” said Piovesan.

Now that you know how Bimbo rolls, check out some truly fantastic figures.

– This plant will produce 190 loaves of bread per minute.

– It’s also capable of churning out about 175 eight-packs of buns each and every minute.

– Thanks to its 170 windows, this plant will use less energy – even while keeping its fast-paced production schedule.

But numbers alone can’t convey the secrets behind the crystallized glaze that hugs your Sara Lee breakfast snack or the simultaneous impression of denseness and lightness that comes with your Thomas’ English Muffin.

“You have to do what you do best,” Piovesan said.

You don’t need a mystic to figure out why Bimbo is dropping $75 million on its new bakery. Lehigh Valley is the gateway to the Northeast.

But it’s not just the prodigious locale. The region also offers a talented (and educated) workforce and outstanding infrastructure. Bimbo can also find comfort in looking to the west and east and finding the neighborhood is movin’ on up with the arrival of Ocean Spray as well as the stately standards of Coca-Cola, Samuel Adams and Nestle Waters that have made home here in Lehigh County.

As a result, the keen cluster of food and beverage manufacturers is booming – and that means vendors and machine parts have set up shop nearby to keep the plants hummin’.

The majority of the jobs at Bimbo’s new plant will pay between $40,000 and $50,000. They’re unionized positions, according to Morse, who provided Allentown Rotarians with the lowdown on the timelines for the plant’s production lines.

“The first line will be operation in January,” Morse said. “The second will be set for February and the third is scheduled for June.”

Slowpokes need not apply. The production lines will be among the fastest in the country.

With $6 billion in annual revenue, Bimbo Bakeries is a major player – one that is smartly positioned for a whopper of a success story right here in Lehigh Valley.

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