Wrigley expansion advances growth for Mars in the US. $50 million investment adds new Skittles line and 75 jobs to Wrigley factory in Yorkville
YORKVILLE — It was sensory overload for guests who were given a tour June 14 through Wrigley’s $50 million Skittles factory expansion.
The overwhelming smells of spearmint and peppermint gave adults a child-like wonder while walking through a guided tour with Wrigley associates.
With precision, machines cut, wrapped, and packaged Wintergreen Extra gum, while other conveyors carried mounds of Doublemint gum dough to its final point of processing.
Natural light and bright colors of wall paint gave no doubt that Skittles were bring manufactured at the facility.
Today, Wrigley is running its Skittle production 24/7, because, well, people need more Skittles. “We need to accommodate the growth of the No. 1 non-chocolate confection in the U.S. market,” said Wrigley Americas President Casey Keller.
Along with creating 75 new jobs, the Skittle expansion project allowed local building trades to put its members to work for more than 1 1/2 years.
Factory Director Brian Pardo said when union members come to work, they came with the core value of safety on their mind. “It makes my job a lot easier,” Pardo explained. “We talk with our associates everyday about safety, and it was mirrored by union members when we went into the construction process.”
On the electrical end, IBEW Local 461’s workforce reached 30,000 hours without a lost time incident while working on two construction projects at Wrigley — including the Skittles expansion factory. The projects also were completed on time and on budget.
For Continental Electrical Construction Company (CECCo), having members work 30,000 hours without an incident was amazing, said CECCo’s Director of Field Operations Brian Swiatek. CECCo has been performing electrical work at Wrigley for more than seven years — as long as Pardo has been with Wrigley.
“I can tell you, I didn’t have to worry about people not wearing safety glasses or being harnessed off if they needed to be. Everyone followed everything safely,” Pardo explained.
The 145,000 square-foot expansion is an example to how Mars is investing in the U.S. Over the last five years, Mars has invested $1 billion and created 1,000 jobs in new U.S. facilities.
Acting Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Sean McCarthy said Wrigley has called Illinois home since 1891.
“The state of Illinois is proud to be a partner in your continued growth in the land of Lincoln,” McCarthy said.