Topeka, KS: Mars Chocolate North America announced plans to build a state-of-the art manufacturing facility in Topeka, KS. The announcement was made here by Mike Wittman, vice president of Supply at Mars Chocolate North America, and Kansas Governor 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 US 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 US in 35 years.
"We are excited to announce our plan to construct this new manufacturing site in Topeka," says 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 Governor 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," says 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," says 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," says Steve Jenkins, senior VP, GO Topeka economic partnership.
Other local officials offered their congratulations and support for the announcement:
"What a wonderful day for Topeka and Shawnee County! We have so much to offer businesses and we are very pleased that Mars saw the value of our community and selected Topeka for this state-of-the-art facility,' says Doug Kinsinger, president, Topeka Chamber/GO Topeka.
"This project exemplifies our community's ability to work as a focused partnership and live the motto "We Can Do That". Collaboration among the over 70 partners involved with this project brought us to this momentous and significant day," says Steve Briman, chair, GO Topeka board of directors.
"The citizens of Topeka and Shawnee County created the possibility for this project through the passage of the half-cent sales tax for economic development. Because of their vision, we celebrate Mars' plans to build in Topeka," says Victor Miller, chair, Shawnee County board of county commissioners.
"How Sweet It Is! Topeka is a wonderful place with people that take pride in producing quality products. The continued growth of our primary employers is one indicator of that statement. We welcome Mars to the family of Topeka and Shawnee County," says William Bunten, mayor, city of Topeka.