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North Texas City Vying For Hot Chili Sauce Plant

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jason Allen
Jason came to North Texas after working as a reporter for four y...
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DENTON COUNTY (CBS 11 NEWS) – Texas can take the heat. That’s the message a city councilman in Denton is sending to a California hot sauce company, facing a lawsuit over its spicy recipe.

Kevin Roden posted a message on Twitter and Facebook Wednesday, inviting the makers of Sriracha, to move their operation to Denton. It comes after Huy Fong Foods became the target of a lawsuit in Irwindale, Calif., where residents complained about the odor from a new $40 million plant.

Sitting in the Denton restaurant Chopsticks, where there is a huge bottle of the red sauce, with the green cap on every table, Roden said he was serious. “I think any city, every city is fighting to get ahead economically,” he said. “It’s the cities that are most aggressive about doing that and promoting what assets and resources that they have, that end up winning.”

Winning is not something Roden is trying to do on his own. The city economic development department started doing company research after his invitation. It’s not the normal way of attracting business, department director Aimee Bissett said, but it can work. “If there’s a specific business or specific industry, there’s no reason we can’t just pick up the phone and give them a call and see if they have an interest,” she said.

A call to the economic development department in California would be in order next she said, if there is any interest from the company. So far, they haven’t heard anything.

Denton has attracted its share of large manufacturing in the last year, including a Target distribution center, and new facility for Peerless, which makes components for the energy industry. It is currently working to attract more development on 800 acres in the same area west of Interstate-35. There aren’t any food manufacturers there, but there also are few homes nearby, lessening the chances of residents getting hot over the smell of fresh sriracha being made.

The invite is worth the effort Roden said, even if Huy Fong doesn’t respond. “Maybe perhaps others will notice what Denton’s doing, what they have to offer as a city to other businesses, and they may want to come set up shop here.”

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