Wilbur Chocolate plant to close in Lititz

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LITITZ, Pa — The parent company of a Lancaster County chocolate maker announced the plant will close in January. Cargill announced in a press release issued today that the Wilbur Chocolate plant in Lititz will be shut down and the production currently done there moved to other, more modern facilities owned by Cargill. The move will cost 130 employees their jobs in Lititz. The Wilbur Chocolate Candy Americana Museum and Candy Store in Lititz will remain open, according to the release. Cargill says it will continue to employ approximately 2,200 employees in its Cocoa and Chocolate and other businesses throughout Pennsylvania.

Here is the release issued by Cargill:

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — In early 2016, Cargill will continue to take steps to improve and expand its chocolate, compound and chocolate liquor production offerings and services for North American food and beverage companies.

In January 2016, Cargill will close its plant in Lititz, Penn., on Broad Street and shift production of these offerings to Cargill’s other, more modern and efficient plants in Mount Joy, Lititz (West Lincoln Avenue) and Hazleton, Penn.; Milwaukee; and Ontario, Canada.

Also in January, Cargill will centralize its North American Cocoa and Chocolate leadership, administrative and customer-focused roles in Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Previously these functions were based in Lititz and other locations throughout North America.  Cargill’s Milwaukee facility features extensive production and product development capabilities and an expansive, modern office space. Minneapolis is home to Cargill’s corporate headquarters and this move will bring its North American Cocoa and Chocolate business closer to the company’s vast administrative, research and development and marketing resources.

As a result of these changes, approximately 130 jobs, mostly those working at the plant in Lititz, will be eliminated, effective in January 2016.  Approximately 30 other employees will be reassigned or offered relocation options for positions at one of Cargill’s other North American cocoa and chocolate sites.

“These are very difficult decisions, especially when they involve people who have done such great work for us over the years,” said Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate North America president, Bryan Wurscher. “We are committed to helping those who are impacted find other employment and assist them with this transition.”

The historic Wilbur Chocolate Candy Americana Museum and Candy Store in Lititz will remain open. Cargill will continue to employ approximately 2,200 employees in its Cocoa and Chocolate and other businesses throughout Pennsylvania.

Cargill is taking these steps to help bring its customers expanded product offerings, increased production capacities and efficiencies. Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business operates globally with 27 sites in 11 countries with more than 3,000 employees and serves customer needs worldwide with a distinctive range of innovative and high quality cocoa and chocolate products, tailor-made for confectionery, bakery, dairy, and other applications.