Sunrider International Corp. is leaving Utah.
"We have set up a new plant in City of Industry, Calif.," said Steve Lee, plant manager at Sunrider, a company that produces health foods.The new plant has more advanced technology that makes production easier and more efficient, Lee said. "We are expanding into other Pacific Rim countries, and the move will bring us closer to the central offices."
Sunrider, which is based in Torrance, Calif., has been in Utah since 1982. The company will be closing all Orem facilities.
Sue Sherman, Sunrider's personnel director, said 150 people will be laid off.
Right now, no one is moving to California with the company because no one has received an offer that will compensate for the change in the standard of living, she said.
Employees are not shocked by the move, but some are upset by the announcement. They were formally told of the move at the beginning of December.
"There have been rumors for the past eight years that the company was going to move to California," Sherman said. "After eight years, you begin to wonder if it will really happen."
Sherman said she believes the heads of the company think the business atmosphere in California is better than in Utah.
According to Lee, the decision was made at the company headquarters in Torrance and not from Utah.DeLance Squire, director of the Commission for Economic Development in Orem, said the city hates to see the company go because of the loss of jobs, but the move was not unexpected.
Squire said that a few years ago the economic development commission tried to work with Sunrider to help them build a major facility in Orem, but the company decided to build in California instead.
From that point, the city was pretty sure that the rest of the company would eventually leave too, he said.
"Sunrider received a lot of adverse publicity a few years ago," Squire said, referring to the company's legal battle with Utah's Department of Agriculture over the discovery of salmonella in some of its products.
Lee emphasized that the incident is over and that is not the reason the company is relocating to California.
"That happened three years ago, and I don't know why people have to bring it up again and again," he said.