Wrigley plans to start making Skittles in Yorkville, expanding its plant there and adding 75 full-time manufacturing jobs, the candy maker plans to announce on Wednesday.
The decision to make Skittles in Yorkville, about 50 miles southwest of Chicago, was sweetened by tax incentives and grants from the Illinois government.
The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., which is based in Chicago, was acquired by privately-held Mars Inc. in 2008. Skittles now fall under the Wrigley umbrella. This is the first time since the Wrigley acquisition that U.S. production capacity for Skittles has expanded. Skittles for the United States are currently made in Waco, Texas, and will continue to be made there, Wrigley said.
Over the past five years, the company has seen double-digit percentage sales growth globally for Skittles, the brightly-colored chewy candies with crisp shells. Sales in the United States continue to accelerate, Wrigley said. Skittles was recently announced as an official sponsor of the National Football League. Snickers, another candy made by Mars, has been an NFL sponsor since 2003.
Skittles are made at six facilities around the world, including the one in Waco. Wrigley already added more capacity to make Skittles at a factory in Yonghe, China, in 2012 and plans to add production in a facility in Porici, Czech Republic, in 2015.
Wrigley already employs about 300 people at the Yorkville facility, making brands including Juicy Fruit, Doublemint and Life Savers. Wrigley said it plans to invest about $50 million to expand its Yorkville factory by 145,000 square feet by 2016.
“The Wrigley company has been a big part of our state’s business heritage,” Governor Pat Quinn said in a statement. “We are glad to help it bring more high-quality jobs to Illinois.”
The jobs that Wrigley plans to add have an average annual salary of $70,000, said Dave Roeder, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) supported the expansion with $2 million in tax incentives through the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program. That program tries to entice companies to build or expand in Illinois when they are considering other states, offering credits against their state income tax liabilities. Wrigley had also considered expanding Skittles production in Waco; Monterrey, Mexico or Toronto, Roeder said.
DCEO also said it would give Wrigley a $250,000 grant for construction expenses and a $37,500 job training grant.
Yorkville’s mayor also expressed his support for the expansion.
“Yorkville has been the proud home of the Wrigley manufacturing facility since 1995 and we are very excited about the expansion of the facility to accommodate the worldwide growth of Skittles,” Yorkville Mayor Gary Golinski said in a statement.