The company that makes Baltimore's famous Mary Sue Easter eggs is planning a move from the city to the suburbs.
Ruxton Chocolates, which owns the Mary Sue brand, plans to open a 100,000-square-foot facility in the Baltimore Crossroads business community in White Marsh next year, according to a bond proposal approved Monday by the Baltimore County Council.
The move would consolidate Ruxton Chocolates' three locations — two in the city and one in Pennsylvania — into one spot, according to county documents.
Bill Buppert, owner of Ruxton Chocolates, said he was excited about the move but not able to discuss it "until the deal closes," he said.
The county's gain is the city's loss, however. The company will be closing facilities in Woodberry and on Caton Avenue near Saint Agnes Hospital.
The new Ruxton Chocolates facility is being built by a company called 1412 Tangier LLC, which will lease the building to the candy company, according to information provided by county.
On Monday, the County Council unanimously approved issuing $8 million worth of bonds on behalf of Tangier LLC. The firm will have to repay the bonds, and the county government is not on the hook if the bonds aren't paid back. The county also earns a small annual fee for issuing the bonds.
The economic development revenue bonds are a tool used by the county to spur job growth by helping companies obtain financing. The bonds are tax-exempt, so they cost less to the company.
Construction is expected to begin in October, with the facility opening next June, according to the county.
Initially, 45 employees will work at the new Ruxton Chocolates facility, a number that's predicted to grow to 67 in three years. The annual payroll is expected to be about $2 million, according to the county.
The county is not providing any other assistance to Tangier LLC or Ruxton Chocolates, said Fronda Cohen, a county spokeswoman.
City councilman Nick Mosby, whose district includes Woodberry, said he was "disappointed" to hear of the move.
"No matter if it's 40 jobs or 400 jobs, the city has to develop a more effective way for retaining jobs in the city of Baltimore," he said. "It's the only way we're going to grow our city."
Buppert formed Ruxton Chocolates and bought the chocolate company at auction in 2001 for $890,000. At the time, Buppert was a 23-year-old recent college graduate looking to make his first investment.
Ruxton Chocolates also owns the Naron gourmet chocolate brand.
Mary Sue was founded in 1948 and Naron was founded in 1905. The companies merged in 1996 and were, at the time, run by Chesapeake Candy Inc.
Chesapeake Candy filed for state court insolvency — similar to bankruptcy — in 2001. Buppert beat out four other registered bidders to buy the company at auction.