The Hershey Company celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Stuarts Draft manufacturing facility in central Virginia. In honor of the milestone, Hershey hosted an event for local community members and dignitaries, including U.S. Congressman Robert Goodlatte and Virginia Senator Emmett Hanger.
The Stuarts Draft plant—the original home of Reese's® Pieces® candies—produces 15 beloved brands, including Almond Joy® and Mounds® chocolates, Whatchamacallit® chocolate bars, Reese's® Peanut Butter Cups and flavor-filled Hershey's® Kisses®chocolates.
Thirty years after production began with 150 employees, the plant's presence in Stuarts Draft has grown significantly. In 1997, Hershey invested $57 million into the plant, upgrading its machinery and adding five manufacturing lines. An additional $7 million was invested into the plant in 2009. The Stuarts Draft plant now employs nearly 900 local Virginians and contributes approximately $100 million to the local economy annually.
"Our employees here at Stuarts Draft are proud to make some of the world's favorite candy," said Michael Jackson, Stuarts Draft Plant Manager, in a prepared statement. "Hershey has invested in the Stuarts Draft plant and the local Virginia economy throughout the plant's 30 years, and we look forward to making chocolate here for many years to come."
Hershey continues to invest in its manufacturing, logistics processes and global supply chain, most recently through Project Next Century, a $300 million capital project—one of the largest in Hershey's history—to modernize and upgrade Hershey's global supply chain. The largest component of the project was the expansion of the company's West Hershey manufacturing facility in Hershey, Pa. The expanded plant, unveiled this September, is the world's most technologically advanced chocolate making facility thanks to state-of-the-art technology never before used in confectionery manufacturing.