Ice cream and frozen dessert company, Wells Enterprises, has announced plans to more than double the facility’s current production capacity in Dunkirk.
The expansion is expected to add 200 jobs and retain 401 existing full time jobs.
Almost a year ago, a WARN notice filed by Wells Enterprises with the New York State Department of Labor cited plans to lay off 319 employees by end of 2022. The company also said it planned to scale back operations to five production lines.
Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency CEO Mark Geise said the company only ended up letting go around 110 employees, so the expansion could potentially end up netting an additional 100 employees at the end.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced the state is supporting the project with up to $10 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits and a $6 million grant from Empire State Development in exchange for job creation and capital investment commitments. The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency is also working with the management team of Wells to provide the support necessary for company executives to officially greenlight the project. This includes extending an existing payment-in-lieu-of-taxes and sales tax exemption.
The Ferrero Group recently acquired Wells Enterprises, its operations and its ice cream brands.
Construction will begin on the new facility by the end of this year. It will include all new production lines, cold storage, and administrative office space. Wells will continue to manufacture ice cream products in the existing facility while construction of the new plant is underway.
The planned expansion will continue to utilize millions of pounds of dairy annually. That number is expected to grow along with the overall consumption of ice cream. Fortune Business Insights estimates the global ice cream market will reach $104.96 billion in 2029, up from $71.52 billion in 2021—a 46 percent jump in less than a decade due to the world’s craving for ice cream.
The ice cream plant will also continue to utilize Americold’s new cold-storage distribution facility located in the Town of Dunkirk.