Milwaukee 7 officials hope the Haribo’s gummi bears found on shelves at Walmart, Target and other stores will have a direct economic impact in Kenosha County through growth of its first U.S. production facility.
Haribo of America was to start construction this month on the first phase of that Gold Bear candy production and distribution center in Pleasant Prairie. Valued at more than $320 million, that first phase is to create 390 full-time jobs when it opens.
It is actually larger than what Haribo officials initially envisioned for the first phase when the project was announced in 2017, said Jim Paetsch, vice president of Milwaukee 7, who was involved in the effort to attract the gummi bear facility. It grew as Haribo gained customers in the U.S. market, he said.
“The build, the equipment, all of those figures have gone up,” he said. “Those bears are now appearing in all kinds of different places. As their market share continues to go up, one of the things I know they’ve thought long and hard about is they want to make sure they’ve got enough manufacturing capacity here to satisfy their market demand that continues to grow.”
That growth could continue beyond this current phase of work. Haribo has acquired enough land in Pleasant Prairie for three future expansion phases that could mean more than 1,000 cumulative jobs, Paetsch said.
The project represents the largest investment in Haribo’s 100-year-corporate history, Paetsch said. Haribo already makes about 100 million gummi bears daily, largely in facilities in its headquarters country of Germany, and in Turkey.
Read more in the Milwaukee Business Journal.