PONCHATOULA, LA (WVUE) - Elmer Chocolate company cut the ribbon on a new $40 million expansion Thursday of its production facility in Ponchatoula. The 70,000 square foot addition means the total footprint is nearly 400,000 square feet.
"Today is an important milestone for our 160-year-old, family-owned company," said Robert Nelson, CEO of Elmer Chocolate. "Our expansion, complete with state-of-the-art production technology gives Elmer Chocolate a competitive edge to be the most efficient gift chocolate manufacturer in the world. All of us at Elmer recognize and are grateful to our state, local, and parish officials for their continued support."
The company says it was able to retain its workforce of 164 employees while upgrading several positions to handle the new production technology.
"I am beyond excited to be celebrating the completed expansion of Elmer Chocolate's production facility in Ponchatoula," said Mayor Bob Zabbia. "As one of our community's largest employers, Elmer continues to be a great corporate citizen, and we appreciate their continued investment in our city."
The company began the new expansion project in December 2014. Part of the funding was provided by a performance-based Economic Development Award from the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, along with the assistance of LED FastStart which helped Elmer employees learn new job skills and increase production capacity.
"As a Tangipahoa Parish native, I am a big fan of Elmer Chocolate, and I also understand the tremendous economic impact this expansion will have on the region," Governor John Bel Edwards said. "This expansion will make Elmer Chocolate more efficient and more competitive, but it also speaks to the confidence that business leaders have in our state and our people. We congratulate the entire Elmer team on this exciting new chapter."
Elmer Chocolate is known for its seasonal holiday favorites, such as Gold Brick, Heavenly Hash, and Pecan Eggs.