Delegation from Denton woos Sriracha maker

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by CARLA WADE

Bio | Email | Follow: @CarlaNWade

WFAA

Posted on May 18, 2014 at 10:08 PM

Updated Monday, May 19 at 11:52 AM

It was the business win of the year for North Texas when Toyota decided to leave California and move its U.S. headquarters in North Texas.

Now local leaders are eying another big California company for a deal that could be worth millions of dollars and more jobs.

This week, a delegation from Denton is in California pushing its case for the makers of Sriracha hot sauce to relocate or expand their business. They are the second Texas group to try and pitch the Lone Star State as an ideal spot for the company to consider.

What one city sees as a nuisance, another sees as opportunity.

“There’s just something about one of America's most loved condiments, Sriracha,” said Denton City Council member Kevin Roden. “To have that name attached to the city of Denton would be a good thing."

Roden spoke to News 8 on the phone just moments after he and three other Denton city leaders arrived in California.

Huy Fong Foods, the makers of Sriracha, began considering moving its Irwindale, California plant after neighbors there began complaining that strong, spicy fumes were making the facility a public nuisance.

So Texas lawmakers began a campaign to bring Sriracha to Texas that included a high-profile tour of the plant last week led by Dallas-area State Rep. Jason Villalba.

On Friday, there was a rally in Denton to show the community's enthusiasm ahead of this week's visit. The hashtag #Sriracha2Denton trended on Twitter.

For now, it appears the company will stay put, but it could soon expand. Roden said the Denton's central location would be ideal for a distribution center.

“We have got wide open spaces in Denton,” he said. "Our industrial area is far away from neighborhoods, so the current problems they’re having out in Irwindale they wouldn’t have here, because of the spacing.”

Roden said the intensely hot hybrid jalapeños would likely be grown outside of Denton.

News 8’s media partner, The Texas Tribune, raised questions about whether or not Texas — in the midst of a devastating drought — has sufficient water policies in place to support expanding agribusiness ventures.

“Obviously, we’ve got water issues statewide for all sorts of things," Roden said. “But to say adding another producer here... is that going to tilt the equation to the wrong side? I don’t think it will do that.”

The Denton delegation will be in California until Wednesday.

E-mail cwade@wfaa.com

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