The factory’s closure is part of a restructuring of the company’s US operations, following Mars’ $23bn acquisition of Wrigley in 2008.
Mars-Wrigley moved its US headquarters out of Chicago to New Jersey in 2017 and the company said the plant built in 1928 will be phased out during the next two years with the potential loss of 280 jobs.
A Mars-Wrigley spokesperson told The Chicago Tribune that workers are “encouraged to explore the opportunities to apply for open roles across our network, specifically in the Chicago area.”
The company still operates a Burr Ridge ice cream factory, a candy factory in Yorkville and a Mattoon pet nutrition manufacturing site in Illinois.
Mars-Wrigley reported net sales of $20bn worldwide in 2020 and contributes an estimated 27.2% of the $200bn confectionery market, according to Statista.
The company said it plans to donate the building, famous for its Spanish-style architecture, “for the use of the community”.
Apart from being the home of the National Confectioners Association’s Sweet & Snacks Expo, at one time Chicago boasted more than 1,000 local candy companies. In recent years, other major companies, including Brach's candies and Fannie May, have closed their production facilities in the city.
The Blommer Chocolate Company is one of the last remaining chocolate factories in the downtown area, and Ferrara Pan was bought by Nutella owner Ferrero in 2017 and moved its headquarters into the old Post Office building, with an outlet store in Forest Park.