STUARTS DRAFT—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that The Hershey Company, the leading North American chocolate producer and a global snacks company, will invest $104 million to grow its major manufacturing operation in Augusta County. The 111,000-square-foot expansion of the existing facility will increase production capabilities. The expanded facility will manufacture penuche and peanut cream, which will be distributed to other Hershey facilities on the East Coast. The Hershey Company evaluated potential expansion locations nationally and ultimately chose Augusta County for the project, which will create 65 new jobs.
“For more than thirty years, The Hershey Company has continued to grow in Augusta County, creating hundreds of jobs and setting the bar for a thriving food and beverage industry cluster in the Shenandoah Valley,” said Governor Northam. “The company’s economic contribution to Virginia cannot be overstated, and we look forward to many more years of success for Hershey with this major investment and the establishment of a new Roasting Center of Excellence.”
The Hershey Company, celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2019, is headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and is an industry-leading snacks company known for bringing goodness to the world through its iconic brands, remarkable people and enduring commitment to help children succeed. Hershey has approximately 16,500 employees around the world who work every day to deliver delicious, quality products. The company has more than 80 brands around the world that drive more than $7.8 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers, SkinnyPop and Pirate’s Booty.
The company currently employs more than 1,000 people in Virginia, with the majority of those jobs located at its manufacturing facility in Augusta County.
“The Hershey Company’s expansion is an exciting win for Augusta County and Virginia, and a true testament to the Shenandoah Valley’s ability to attract and retain high caliber companies,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Food and beverage processing is the heart of the region’s manufacturing sector, employing over 5 percent of the Valley’s labor force of more than 175,000 people. Virginia is proud to have Hershey on its corporate roster, and we look forward to the next 37 years.”
“The Commonwealth of Virginia and Augusta County have been part of Hershey’s success for more than 35 years,” said Susanna Zhu, Vice President, U.S. Supply Chain, The Hershey Company. “We are pleased to build on this partnership with our plant expansion and continue to make Stuarts Draft a key to delighting consumers across the United States and around the world with our iconic products.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Augusta County and the Shenandoah Valley Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $600,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Augusta County with the project. Governor Northam also approved a $400,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Performance program, an incentive that encourages capital investment by existing Virginia companies. The company is eligible to receive Sales and Use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment, as well as a Major Business Facilities job tax credit for new, full-time jobs created.
“The Hershey Company is a shining example in Augusta County—a modern, forward-thinking, community-minded manufacturing plant,” said Chairman of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors Gerald Garber. “The Roasting Center of Excellence will have far-reaching effects on future investments and further strengthens the economies of Augusta County and the Shenandoah Valley.”
“In Augusta County, chocolate and peanuts mean jobs,” added Carolyn Bragg, member of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors and representative of the South River District where the facility is located. “Hershey’s confectionary treats mean our citizens are offered opportunities to begin and grow careers, support families, and invest time in a company that’s committed to our community.”
“As a young Commissioner of the Revenue, I was asked by Governor Dalton’s administration to go to Hershey, Pennsylvania in order to provide the company with an estimate of the tax that would be assessed on the factory and the machinery and tools that would be placed in operation here in Virginia,” said Senator Emmett Hanger, reflecting on the original negotiations that brought Hershey to Augusta County in the early 1980’s. “They were pleased with the projected low tax here as well as the quality of our available workforce. That attraction has not diminished and 35 years later, Hershey continues to an be excellent partner in business by not only providing secure jobs and a good tax base, but by providing leadership that has enhanced the quality of life for our citizens. Life is sweeter in the Valley with Hershey as a Virginia business!”
“The Hershey Company expanding in Augusta County is great for the people,” said Delegate Ronnie Campbell. “I will always be a supporter of economic development, as good-paying jobs benefit our community.”
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