Tacoma has known since early December that an iconic business that was once one of the area’s larger employers was due to shut down for good sometime this year. Now that plant’s new owner has set a specific date.
Pinnacle Foods Group LLC said today it will halt production at Nalley’s South Tacoma plant by June 25. The company makes chili and canned beans at the facility. That production is being transferred to an Armour Canned Meats facility in Fort Madison, Iowa. Pinnacle owns Armour.
The Tacoma plant will remain open as a warehouse and distribution facility through next fall and then close down permanently, the company said.
Pinnacle has notified 139 workers of the plant’s 160 workers that they will be laid off on the June date.
The foods conglomerate, which purchased Nalley’s owner Birds Eye Foods in 2009, said the company had excess production capacity. The Fort Madison plant is closer to the source of the ingredients for chili production, so work will be brought there.
The company this month announced it will be closing another plant in Fulton, N.Y. and transferring its vegetable processing functions to plants in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Nalley’s closure will end 93 years of the company’s food processing in Tacoma. The company was founded by immigrant Marcus Nalley in 1918. At its peak, 700 workers were employed at Nalley’s. The company made dozens of different foods at one time.
The company once made pickles at the South Tacoma plant located in what became known as “Nalley Valley.” The aroma of large vats of pickles scented the air near the plant near South Tacoma Way and South 35th Street. Pickle production was halted several years ago.