LITITZ, Pa. (WHTM) – Cargill will close the landmark Wilbur Chocolate plant on North Broad Street and eliminate more than 100 jobs in January, the company announced Thursday.
The plant has been in Lititz for more than 80 years.
“Wilbur Chocolate plant is one of the big draws of Lititz as a whole,” Beverly Volpone, a Lititz resident, said.
The plant makes chocolate and other items they send to food makers.
While the iconic factory will close, the goal is to keep the Wilbur Chocolate Candy store open.
“When you’re in the retail store and you’re shopping, you can hear the equipment running, and that’s something that’s going to be surely missed,” Michael Greger, a Lititz business owner, said.
About 130 people will be out of a job when the factory closes.
“Those employees come to my store as customers. You get to know them very personally,” Greger said. “You don’t want to see anybody lose their jobs, especially in this economy.”
Cargill said it will shift production at the plant to more modern and efficient locations on West Lincoln Avenue and in Mount Joy. Other production will go to Hazleton, Milwaukee, and Ontario.
“It’s a difficult decision because there are people who are dedicated to the business, to the customers, to each other, and to the community,” Bryan Wurscher, president of Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate North America, told ABC 27 News. “So, it’s a difficult decision when you have to advise them of the decision we made today.”
Cargill acquired Wilbur Chocolate in 1992. The company employs about 2,200 people in Pennsylvania.
Tim Snyder, the Mayor of Lititz, said it remains to be seen what impact the closing will have.