German candy company Haribo, maker of the popular Gummy Bears jellied candies, has announced plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Wisconsin, bringing 400 new jobs to the Dairy State. It is the first plant the company will have outside its home nation.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced on Friday that Haribo will commit $242 million to build the facility in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. The plant is scheduled to open in 2020, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“These are well-paying jobs above market (salary) and they tend to offer a full benefit package,” Gov. Walker said during a news conference.
Walker also took a jab at the financial disaster continuing to grow for his southern neighbor, Illinois, noting that the Land of Lincoln’s budget mess has helped Wisconsin succeed.
“Who would have thought years ago that having a fully funded pension system would be appealing … from an economic development standpoint. But there’s no doubt about it, it is,” Walker told reporters during the presser.
“Haribo has already been in the process of selecting a location for a first manufacturing facility in the USA for several years. In an elaborate process, we have examined many different sites. We are very excited to announce this important decision today,” Rick LaBerge, chief operating officer of Haribo of America Inc., said in a statement.
The candy company will build its new facility on about 100 acres of a 438-acre site designated as Prairie Highlands business park. The land was purchased for $37.5 million by the city of Pleasant Prairie, a town on the Illinois-Wisconsin border north of Chicago.
Village Administrator Michael Pollocoff said the business park is being developed by the creation of TIF districts.
Haribo joins another candy producer who recently built a facility in the city. Jellybean manufacturer Jelly Belly Candy Co., also has a facility in Pleasant Prairie.