Southern Comfort

Chattanooga may have transformed itself from a sleepy town to a vibrant city, but it hasn’t lost any of its southern charm.


The area is undergoing a renaissance, transforming itself from its bustling industrialized past into a cosmopolitan city with amenities matching those of large metro centers throughout the country.

"We are just the right size so people can get a real sense of community here," says Hamilton. The city is undergoing a $120 million revitalization of the waterfront, which will include a salt--water aquarium. "These upgrades will continue to build upon the quality of life here, making Chattanooga a great place to live, work and play."

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Farley’s & Sathers Candy Co. Inc.

Sweet Success

"The Chattanooga area is a great location for us, because we can distribute to the entire eastern half of the country from here," says Mark Hilling, plant manager of Farley’s & Sathers Candy Co. Inc.

In fact, the Chattanooga facility has an advantage over its sister facility in Minnesota. "From a geographical point of view, our plant in Minnesota covers a lot more land area, but we reach a greater consumer population as we supply as far west as Memphis and Chicago and we ship to all of the major Northeast and Southeast markets," Hilling says.

Farley’s & Sathers operates a corporate office and packaging facility in Minnesota, and a candy manufacturing plant in Des Plaines, IL, in addition to the Chattanooga packaging facility. Products are manufactured at the Des Plaines facility and the company also uses outside contract manufacturers to produce candy that is shipped to Chattanooga for final mixing and packaging into Farley’s & Sathers candy packages. "We also purchase branded candy products from other manufacturers which we mix into our Farley’s & Sathers branded products," explains Hilling.

From a distribution point of view, the facility is close to I--75 for north/south access and I--24 for east/west transit.

The company, employing about 200 people, owns and operates its own trucking fleet. "We also have a support network of independent truck carriers when we exceed the capacity of our own operations, so this is a great location for us," Hilling says. Everything on the outbound is shipped by truck.

On the inbound side, the company uses a mix of truck and rail. "We source some of our items in containers from overseas, which are then trucked to our plant," Hilling says. These include hard candies like lollipops and jawbreakers which originate primarily from Central and South America.

The company recently began testing the efficacy of intermodal on the inbound side, with containers landing in Jacksonville, FL, being shipped via rail and truck to the facility.

The company backhauls incoming product on its own fleet and those of its favorite carriers as they complete deliveries throughout North America. These incoming products could be other candy products for integrating into final candy packages or they could be supplies for the packaging side of the operation.

Farley’s & Sathers has been located in Chattanooga for more than 20 years because of Sathers’ early association with Kitchen Fresh, a manufacturer that Sathers acquired about 20 years ago.

After a number of ownership changes, Farley’s & Sathers was spun off as an independent company in 2001.

"Some consolidation was done in the network, but from a logistics standpoint, Chattanooga offered us the optimum opportunity to focus on servicing the markets we are strongest in," says Hilling.

The cost and availability of utilities, such as electricity and water, also contribute to the area’s attractiveness. "Electricity is very cost--effective and that is a big factor for us because we operate an air--conditioned and climate--controlled warehouse for our products," Hilling says.

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