Ray Avila speaks with a Performance Food Group representative in Gilroy earlier this month.
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Performance Food Group’s new food processing plant and distribution center in Gilroy may not be in operation yet, but that hasn’t stopped the company from reaching out to Gilroy, Morgan Hill and Hollister and beyond to find new workers for its expanded Central Coast operation.

Performance, one of the nation’s largest prepared food distribution companies, hosted a daylong hiring fair on March 7, 10am to 7pm at the Hilton Garden Inn on Monterey Road, just north of the new plant.

Performance said it would be hiring managers, customer service representatives, warehouse staff and drivers.

When the doors opened at the hiring event, nearly 50 prospects were already in line. The interviews would continue all day.

“I said, I think I’ll give a whirl,”  said Ray Avila, 67 of Gilroy. “I’ve been in the distribution business for 22 years. Hopefully, they can find me something within this company.”

Michael Sanchez grew up in Gilroy, where he worked as a stock boy before moving to Morgan Hill as a young man. “I just retired four years ago, and want to get back to work.

‘My wife worked in food distribution in both Morgan Hill and Gilroy,” he said.

Laura Blacklock lives in Hollister and works in Gilroy. “It’s very exciting,” she said of Performance Food Group’s relocation to Gilroy. “I have been watching the building go up every day when I drive by.”

She said she was hopeful there might part-time office positions available.

Completion of the new plant could mean nearly 60 new jobs in Gilroy, as the company expects to retain 70 percent of the current 190-person workforce in Santa Cruz. Performance Food Group is closing down the Santa Cruz plant to open the new operation in Gilroy.

A company spokesman declined to say when the new facility would open for business.

The new site sits on 30 acres of land at 5480 Monterey Road, south of the Garlic Farm Travel Center.

The company has the option to add 151,000 square feet to the 195,000-square-foot facility.  Richmond, Va.-based Performance Food Group specializes in supplying restaurants and distributes a broad array of food and food-related products such as baked goods, meats, poultry, condiments and even cleaning supplies.For employment inquiries, email resumes to [email protected].

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