Chewing gum giant Mars Wrigley Confectionery announced a $60 million investment Thursday in its South Hall plant — one that’s expected to result in 126 new jobs.
“This investment, which will help secure our future growth, will help us be more efficient and really will help support our reputation in the industry as leaders in quality and food safety,” said Matt Arends, site director at the plant, to the Gainesville-Hall County Development Authority on Sept. 19.
The investment will involve adding production lines and more employee work spaces, equipment purchases, as well as building improvements, such as a new roof and lighting, Arends said.
He said chewing gum production “is still a very manual process,” with robotics limited to such tasks as storage and retrieval of products. Fueling the company’s growth, he added, is the development of new products and popularity of current flavors, such as its Extra Gum.
The upgrades started in 2018 and are supposed to last the next couple of years, pushing employment at the 48-year-old plant at 4500 Atlanta Highway, overlooking Interstate 985, to more than 1,000 workers.
Gov. Brian Kemp also lauded the move by Mars Wrigley, which he described as “a fantastic member of Georgia’s business community.”
He said that Georgia is “committed to creating new opportunities for hardworking Georgians across the state,” and “with two major expansions in the last few years, Mars Wrigley has been an ideal partner in that effort, providing high-quality, well-paying jobs to the people of Hall County.”
The company will seek new workers at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Sept 24 job at the Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St. Mars Wrigley also co-sponsoring the event.
“We’re very excited that Mars Wrigley is expanding again and adding new equipment, new production and additional products that are made in Gainesville-Hall County,” said Tim Evans, the chamber’s vice president of economic development.
The company’s last big expansion took place in 2015, when the company invested $62 million and added 170 jobs.
At that time, positions were added to support additional production of ORBIT, then the company’s largest gum brand in the U.S., and EXCEL, Canada’s leading gum brand.
This report has been updated from its original version.