Mars Opens U.S. Plant; ‘Will Meet Demand For Next 50 Years’
Topeka, KS — Mars Chocolate North America officially opened its first new U.S. facility in 35 years, a 500,000-square-foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that President Debra A. Sandler says will meet consumer demand for the next half-century.
“This $270 million facility, which brings 200 new jobs to Topeka, is one of the largest investments in Mars history,” Sandler says. “For more than 100 years, Mars has been committed to making products in the markets where we sell them, and this facility in America’s heartland is further proof of our commitment.
“It is a once-in-a career opportunity,” she added, explaining the new plant was needed because the company’s nine other U.S. sites are running at capacity, consumer demand is increasing and “I don’t want to wait another 50 years.”
Describing the plant opening as “an amazingly proud moment,” Mars, Inc. Chairman of the Board Victoria B. Mars added: “It’s a key turning point to get rid of the bottleneck and deliver product to consumers.”
She added: “The associates are now the most important players in the success of this factory. You are part of 75,000 Mars employees in 74 countries making quality products, respected brands, connected by the same core principles.”
Mars and Sandler thanked representatives of state, county and local governments, the Topeka Chamber of Commerce, the contractors and offered special thanks to Mars associates and their families for their support since ground was broken for the site more than two years ago.
Topeka was selected from 80 sites spread across 17 states because its values mirror those of the company, Mars pointed out. Other factors influencing the decision were the city’s proximity to major rail and highway systems and utilities, its low cost of living and skilled workforce, according to Shawnee County Commissioner Robert Archer.
The Topeka site will produce six million fun- and sharing-size Snickers bars and 14 million fun-size packs of peanut M&M’s — or 35 million of the candies — daily, according to Site Director Bret Spangler. In addition, he told Candy & Snack TODAY, the building has U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design designation, on-site renewable energy through wind power and sends zero waste to landfill.
Spangler says: “I have never been prouder to be associated with Mars than I am today. To have had a role in something like this has been the highlight of my career.”
Mars also unveiled the plant’s logo: a parallelogram enclosing the letters “TOP”: “Through Outstanding People.”
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Mars Inc. Chairman of the Board Victoria Mars, and Mars Chocolate North America President Debra Sandler pull the lever to start production at the Topeka plant.