Mars Invades Kansas

Mars Invades Kansas

Topeka lands chocolate factory and 200 jobs.

Topeka, Kan., will be the site of the first new factory that Mars Chocolate has built in the United States in 35 years.

Mars Chocolate North America said it will build a new manufacturing facility in Topeka to meet the growing demand for its confections, which include M&M's, Snickers, Milky Way and Skittles.

The North American chocolate unit of McLean, Va.-based Mars Inc. plans to spend more than $250 million and hire 200 full-time employees during the first phase of the site construction alone, which the company expects to complete in 2013.

After that, Mars said it will expand the facility's capacity and add more product lines.

Mars Chocolate North America, maker of M&M's and other confections, will build a new chocolate factory in Topeka, Kan.
Mars Chocolate North America, headquartered in Mount Olive, N.J., said the new facility will comply with "leading-edge environmental standards." The company aims to obtain LEED Gold certification for the chocolate factory.

"The site will be a reflection of our commitment to manufacture our products in the markets where we sell them," said Mike Wittman, vice president of supply at Mars Chocolate North America.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, the Kansas Department of Commerce and the GO Topeka Economic Partnership led the site-selection process for Kansas.

The Topeka facility will be built in the Kanza Fire Commerce Park, which was developed and is now managed by Go Topeka, a subsidiary of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce.

"This will be the most significant economic development for Topeka and Shawnee County in many years," said Steve Jenkins, senior VP, GO Topeka Economic Partnership.
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