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Mars Chocolate North America has officially opened a state-of-the-art facility in Topeka, Kan. The approximately 500,000-square-foot facility, which is the first new site built by the Hackettstown, N.J.-based company in 35 years – will help Mars Chocolate North America meet the demands of consumers for the next 50 years by sustainably producing M&M’s and Snickers. The company broke ground on the facility in August 2011.
“This new $270 million facility, which will bring 200 new jobs to Topeka, is one of the largest investments in Mars history,” noted Mars Chocolate North America President Debra A. Sandler. “For more than 100 years, Mars has been committed to making our products in the markets where we sell them and this facility – in America’s heartland – is further proof of our commitment.”
The company chose the location after a comprehensive search entailing visits to 17 states and 80-plus potential sites. Topeka won out because of the talented local workforce; access to such key amenities as rail lines and utilities; and the commitment of state and local leaders.
The plant is continuing to pursue on-site renewable energy, with the aim of incorporating such solutions as sending no waste to landfills so as to achieve U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
“This site is a critical addition to our network and will help fuel our future growth, but none of that will be possible without the continued support of our new neighbors,” added Sandler.
To mark the plant’s grand opening, Mars Retail Group will set up a temporary M&M’s World Store in downtown Topeka from March 28 through April 13. The store will feature many of the same fixtures and merchandise fans can find in the flagship M&M’s World stores in New York, Las Vegas, Orlando and London, in addition to special “Made in Topeka” merchandise.