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Mars Chocolate North America has announced plans to build a new $250-million manufacturing facility in Topeka, KS. The announcement was made in Topeka by Mike Wittman, Vice President of Supply at Mars Chocolate North America, and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on the campus of Washburn University.
The plan to build a new site reflects Mars Chocolate North America’s commitment to invest in U.S. manufacturing in order to meet the growing demand for its iconic confectionery products, including M&M’S® and SNICKERS®. The new facility will be the first new Chocolate site built in the U.S. in thirty-five years.
“We are excited to announce our plan to construct this new manufacturing site in Topeka,” said Wittman. “The site will be a reflection of our commitment to manufacture our products in the markets where we sell them. Mars looks forward to becoming an important part of the Topeka community.”
“Mars is grateful for the support and partnership of Governor Brownback, Shawnee County and the City of Topeka,” added Todd Lachman, President of Mars Chocolate North America. “We are planning to build this plant with a focus on the long term and look forward to many productive years of manufacturing and community partnership in Topeka.”
The facility will support Gov. Brownback’s efforts to embrace a pro-growth economy and promote jobs in Topeka.
“This is a delicious day for Topeka and the people of Kansas,” said Brownback. “The decision to build this new Mars facility in Topeka demonstrates that Kansas can compete and win in the global business world.
“Mars and Kansas share common values including the importance of family, community, volunteerism, and hard work,” said Brownback. “We want to warmly welcome Mars Chocolate to the state of Kansas.”
Phase I of the new site is planned to be complete in 2013, at which time the site will begin manufacturing M&M’S® and SNICKERS® Brand candies. Mars expects to make a capital investment of over $250 million in the first phase of this multi-phased project. In addition, the company expects to hire approximately 200 full-time operations associates to resource the lines installed during the initial phase. Subsequent phases of development will then expand the capacity of the facility, and more product lines will be added.
The new facility will be built to meet leading-edge environmental standards, and will pursue a LEED Gold Certified designation upon completion, demonstrating Mars’ commitment to sustainability.
The site selection process was led by Governor Brownback, the Kansas Department of Commerce, and the GO Topeka Economic Partnership, a subsidiary of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce. The Topeka facility will be built in the Kanza Fire Commerce Park, which was developed and is now managed by GO Topeka.
“This will be the most significant economic development for Topeka and Shawnee County in many years. The positive economic impact for the community will endure for decades. Mars will join a long list of other stellar primary employers in our community creating exceptional economic opportunities for our residents,” said Steve Jenkins, Senior VP, GO Topeka Economic Partnership.