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Industry coming to Robeson

PEMBROKE — Gov. Pat McCrory and state Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker will be in Pembroke today to announce the arrival of a new industry in Robeson County that is expected to employ up to 150 workers.

Trinity Frozen Foods LLC, of Charlotte, will develop a 150,000-square-foot processing facility near COMtech, just outside of Pembroke, according to a statement from the company. The plant, expected to begin operating in July 1, will initially employ 60 people and grow to 150 employees within three years.

Trinity Frozen Foods markets sweet potato fries in both the food service and retail markets. Brand names include Sweet Sensations and Frizzles.

Trinity also produces private-label products sold in national supermarkets, according to the company statement.

“This will be the most modern and technological facility of its type in the world,” said Jere Null, Trinity’s chief executive officer. “We are excited to be locating it here in North Carolina amongst the largest, most abundant source of sweet potatoes in the country.”

Trinity’s sweet potato fries differ from its competitors in that they include no added sugar and are low in sodium, according to the statement. The statement announcing the company’s arrival in Robeson County also said that the market for sweet potatoes — a low glycemic index food packed with beta-carotene and vitamin D — is growing.

Chuck Zachman, Trinity vice president of Sales and Marketing, said that sweet potato fries have experienced double-digit growth for several years.

“This is an exciting product that will continue to grow as consumers discover its healthy and delicious characteristics,” he said.

Greg Cummings, Robeson County’s economic developer, said that efforts to bring Trinity Frozen Foods to Robeson County have been ongoing for the past eight months.

McCrory is also expected to attend a meeting of the Board of Governors that is being held today at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke this morning at 10:30. The industry announcement will be made at Mariani’s Restaurant at COMtech at 12:30 p.m.

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