To paraphrase Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, “We’re home, Mars.” At least it appears that the famed chocolate maker certainly feels comfortable in Topeka, Kan.
Mars Chocolate North America recently revealed its plans for a new, state-of-the art, 90,000-sq.-ft. facility to be built at its Topeka, Kan. site. The overall project is expected to cost $100 million.
Not only will this provide 70 new full-time, permanent, high-wage manufacturing jobs, it will also allow new innovations to spring forward.
“For over a century, Mars has been committed to making our products in the markets where we sell them,” says Tracey Massey, president, Mars Chocolate North America. “We are grateful for the warm welcome and continued support we have received from Topeka and state of Kansas, and we are pleased to further invest in the community with additional job creation and economic development.”
Mars’ expansion in Topeka follows the grand opening of the facility in 2014, the first new Mars Chocolate North America site built in the last 35 years. With this expansion, Mars’ investment in Topeka totals $430 million, today employing more than 200 associates. It produces a variety of M&M’s Candies and Snickers Bars. The facility is also LEED Gold certified and meets Mars’ stringent sustainability standards.
“This additional investment does more than create new well-paying jobs for Kansans, it reflects Mars’ continuing commitment to growing its business in America’s heartland,” says Gov. Sam Brownback. “In little more than one year after the grand opening of its Topeka facility, Mars is expanding its manufacturing operation with a new state-of-the-art facility. The availability of a talented workforce, along with a strong relationship between Mars and state and local leaders, creates an environment for continued economic growth and opportunity.”
Others also see it as a positive endeavor.
“The city of Topeka is excited when existing companies like Mars Chocolate North America select our community to continue their growth and investment,” says Mayor Larry Wolgast. “We’re thrilled that Mars is expanding their partnership in Topeka and look forward to many years of continued growth and opportunity within our community.”
As the company launches new innovations, it is committed to continuing to make its products in the United States.
More than 95 percent of Mars Chocolate products sold in the U.S. are also made locally by the company’s 3,500 associates located in its nine domestic sites.
“Our consumers and retailers are demanding even greater choice, seeking more product variety across a range of format, calorie and price options,” adds Massey. “By further growing our footprint in the U.S., we will better be able to introduce new treats to satisfy the most diverse consumer appetites.”
This latest investment in the U.S. follows recent announcements by Mars, Inc. of additional expansion across the country. In June Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company announced it would be adding 155 new associates at its Flowery Branch, Ga. facility to support additional sugarfree gum production. In addition, Mars Chocolate North America also shared news of its plans to hire 20 new associates in Albany, Ga. to support the national launch of goodnessknows.