Mars Wrigley closing nearly century-old chocolate plant on Chicago’s West Side

January 31, 2022

Mars Wrigley is closing a nearly century-old chocolate plant on Chicago’s West Side over the course of the next two years, the confection manufacturer announced on Tuesday, January 25, reports The Chicago Tribune.

Built in a Spanish-style structure in 1928, the sprawling plant within the Galewood neighborhood bordering Oak Park employs about 280 staff.

“The company remains committed to the City of Chicago and intends to partner with the surrounding community on a future vision for the site,” a spokesperson for Mars Wrigley Confectionery commented by email. “As we continuously evaluate our footprint across North America, our Associates were informed of the decision to move the majority of operations to other facilities in the United States over the next two years.”

The U.S. headquarters for privately held Mars Wrigley moved to New Jersey in 2017, following Mars’ $23 billion acquisition of Chicago-based Wrigley in 2008. Filled The Mars Wrigley world headquarters is situated on Goose Island in Chicago.

Workers at the closing Chicago plant shall be “encouraged to explore the opportunities to apply for open roles across our network, specifically in the Chicago area,” the Mars Wrigley spokesperson said.

Also in Illinois, Mars Wrigley has an ice cream manufacturing facility in Burr Ridge, a sweet manufacturing facility in Yorkville, and a pet diet manufacturing website production house in downstate Mattoon.

The plant at 2019 North Oak Park Ave. produces quite a lot of “filled bar chocolate” including  3 Musketeers and Milky Way. The success of Milky Way, a malted milk sweet bar launched in 1923, helped to fund the corporate and the Chicago manufacturing facilities, with founder Frank Mars shifting the corporate site from Minneapolis to Chicago when it opened in 1929.

Built on 16 acres in a residential space, the plant was named the “factory of the month” in a 1953 Chicago Tribune sequence, which characterized it as “an outstanding bit of architecture … in a beautiful setting of brilliant green bent grass, beds of flowers, shrubs and towering trees.” The manufacturing facility included tinted partitions, crimson tile roofs, and two-story-high curved-top home windows.

Research contact: @chicagotribune