FiveStar Gourmet Foods, an Ontario, Calif.-based provider of fresh and frozen prepared foods, announced plans to expand to the East Coast with a $20 million investment in a food manufacturing and distribution operation near Naples, Fla.

The state-of-the-art, 85,000-square-foot plant will allow FiveStar to expand its retail, private label and school nutrition businesses to the Eastern Seaboard. FiveStar currently distributes healthy fresh and frozen foods to all Western states from its two manufacturing facilities in California.

“Our move into Florida opens up bold new opportunities for us at a time when demand for our nutritious meals is at an all-time high,” says Tal Shoshan, founder and CEO. “We’re a culinary driven company, and that starts with access to the freshest ingredients. To successfully do this in a new market, we need to be located as close as possible to growers and be able to deliver overnight.”

To that end, the new plant is located near the heart of Florida’s Immokalee region, known as “America’s Tomato Capital” and the source of fresh produce for much of the Southeastern United States.

The plant, expected to open in January, will employ about 250 people.