OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — A dietary supplement company whose products are a common site in Alabama stores picked Opelika on Tuesday for a manufacturing plant that will provide 280 jobs.
Pharmavite of Northridge, Calif., plans to invest $74 million in a 330,000-square-foot plant and start hiring workers in the summer 2012, Chief Operating Officer Mark Walsh said at an announcement with Gov. Robert Bentley and Opelika officials.
Pharmavite sells vitamins, minerals, herbs and nutritional supplements under the brand name Nature Made and nutritional bars under the brand name Soy Joy. It is a subsidiary of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. of Japan. Walsh said the company’s products are available in many Alabama grocery stores and other retailers.
“They are here not only to make us economically healthier, they are making us physically healthier,” said Bentley, a physician.
Walsh said company officials looked at more than 50 cities in the eastern part of the country before picking Opelika for Pharmavite’s first manufacturing plant outside California. He said the company already has plans for an expansion that will take employment to 400.
The state’s chief industrial recruiter, Alabama Development Office Director Greg Canfield, said Pharmavite is the ideal kind of company to recruit in a down economy because the $3 billion-a-year nutritional supplement business has continued to grow while many other businesses have slowed down.
Canfield said Pharmavite ranks in the top five of new industries announced by the state since Bentley took office in January.