KENOSHA COUNTY ⏤ HARIBO Group has selected Gilbane Building Company as the contractor to oversee its Pleasant Prairie build.

The Germany-based confectionery company made the announcement Monday.

Milwaukee-based Gilbane will serve as the general contractor on HARIBO’s first North American facility. The manufacturing facility is located in Prairie Highland Corporate Park, west of I-94 and north of Highway 165. It covers approximately 136.8 acres. 

Production on the site will begin “as soon as possible in 2020,” according to a release from the company. 

‘Same core values’

“We’re proud of this major milestone and partnering with Gilbane Building Company on bringing our first North American factory to life,” said Arndt Ruesges, chief production officer of HARIBO of America.

“We chose to partner with Gilbane, because of the company’s extensive experience, breadth of knowledge and commitment to service. We share the same core values of quality and trust.” 

Gilbane Building Company will handle all construction and work-site management.

“It’s a great honor to partner with HARIBO, and we’re so pleased we earned the team’s trust to deliver this world-class manufacturing complex,” said Gilbane’s senior vice president Adam Jelen.

“Quality and being part of the community” are the focus of the company, he added.

“We’re looking forward to the next steps on this exciting project and to continuing our longstanding commitment to southeast Wisconsin,” Jelen said.

Largest project in Gilbane history

HARIBO of America Chief Financial Officer Wes Saber stated that the company will invest “well above $300 million in our state-of-the-art facility.”

Saber noted it is the largest project in the company’s 100-year history. The project will create 385 direct HARIBO jobs in phase one. It will then add “4,200 indirect jobs” upon completion, according to an independent economic study by the company.

“It’s important to us to be exemplary corporate citizens and give back to the places where we live and work, so we’re proud of the relationships we’ve already built as we become part of the fabric of the community.”

Wes Saber, HARIBO of America CFO
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State officials praise announcement

Following HARIBO’S annoucement, Gov. Tony Evers released a statement saying he is “proud that its products will be made right here in Wisconsin.”

“We warmly welcome HARIBO to a long list of family-run enterprises that form the economic backbone of our state, making best-in-class products that reach every corner of the globe,” Evers said.

 “HARIBO’s commitment to quality, excellence and joy makes it precisely the kind of company we want and can well support in Wisconsin,” added Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Hughes added the company joins “an enviable roster of iconic consumer brands that call Wisconsin home.”

Local officials excited about build

Local officials have been excited about the HARIBO build since it was first a possibility.

That enthusiasm has only grown over time, according to statements from Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser.

“A company like HARIBO, with its manufacturing legacy and engagement as an outstanding corporate citizen, is already an important part of our community,” Kreuser said.

“Kenosha County looks forward to becoming an integral part of the next chapter in HARIBO’s story.”

Likewise, the project’s economic impact is particularly exciting to Pleasant Prairie Administrator Nathan Thiel. He called HARIBO a great partner and “pivotal addition to Prairie Highlands Corporate Park.”

“HARIBO is making a significant investment in Pleasant Prairie that will benefit the local economy,” Thiel said. “The village is thrilled with the progress made and is eager to see the facility start to take shape.”

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Daniel Thompson is an independent journalist and the founder of The Uptown Observer based in the Kenosha, Wis., area. He started in journalism at the Western Nebraska Observer in 2012 and, most notably,...