Elmer Chocolate has recently announced a $40 million capital investment and construction of a 70,000-square-foot addition at the company’s production facility in Ponchatoula, the “Strawberry Capital of the World” as it is nicknamed.
The company will be making major technology upgrades to its manufacturing facility and plans to expand its high-tech workforce. Ten new direct jobs are expected to be created, in addition to 14 indirect jobs and 130 construction jobs.
The latest expansion will bring its total plant size in Ponchatoula, including administrative headquarters and distribution facilities, to nearly 400,000 square feet.
With the new expansion, Elmer is investing in new production technology to make the company more efficient, versatile and competitive in the marketplace.
“Our expansion, right here at home, provides a unique U.S. manufacturing model that translates into highly skilled jobs for our associates and ensures the maximum level of quality control and food safety,” said Elmer Chocolate CEO Robert Nelson. “The LED FastStart® program is central to helping Elmer associates learn new job skills, prepare to efficiently utilize our new technology, and increase our capacity. The net result will be new opportunities for our associates and other stakeholders.”
A company spokesperson said that Elmer Chocolate will have one of the most sophisticated robotics equipment in the state of Louisiana by this time next year. Elmer currently has some robotics equipment in the facility now, but is still labor-centric.
The company will have to have a workforce prepared to help utilize the technology. The rep said they specifically will have huge need for robotics maintenance professionals.