The Bakery currently employs roughly 300 staff at peak times and is one of the largest pie producers in the United States, with an annual output of about 25 million pies distributed across various national retail chains.
The Bakery utilizes traditional pie-making methods, including cooking fresh ingredients from scratch, traditional pie assembly, baking, and storage, and specializes in three main pie types: raw frozen, pre-bake, and crème/meringue pies, which are frozen before distribution. The pies are sold to various buyers throughout the country, primarily grocery stores, and are marketed under either the Jessie Lord Bakery brand or private labels. The manufacturing facility, which spans 140,000 square feet and houses four production lines, a spiral freezer, and 40,000 square feet of holding freezer, has a Torrance address but is situated within City of Los Angeles limits.
The project will utilize the New Markets Tax Credit (“NMTC”) financing to replace the existing inefficient refrigeration and boiler systems, which are critical to the company’s operations, with new, commercially available and environmentally friendly systems obtained from California vendors. The present refrigeration system was established in 1984, operated before the Lees purchased the property in 2003, and has not been upgraded since. It employs R22 (or Freon), an environmentally harmful gas, as a refrigerant. Refrigeration systems that employ R22 are progressively more expensive to operate and repair. The refrigeration system must be replaced for the Bakery to remain in business.