Claeys Candy to build new production plant

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 6:11 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - A South Bend company that has already celebrated its 100th year in business is preparing to compete for the next century.

Claeys Candy, Inc. has plans to build a new candy factory—an $8.1million marvel at the Blackthorn Corporate Park on South Bend’s far west side.

Claeys will see the size of the factory floor, and its production capacity double. It will be a far cry from the days of Jerome Claeys who started the business in 1919 in a rented garage.

“I’m sure my relatives in heaven are looking down and are amazed to see it grow and expand like this,” said the founder’s grandson, Gregg Claeys.

While Gregg Claeys said it was “scary” to have a big mortgage, he looks forward to growing the company’s sales: “We’ll be able to be in a better position to go get new business. Right now, it’s hard to get new business when we’re at 100 percent capacity.”

The project won’t be labor intensive. Claeys will retain 30 jobs and create three new ones.

While neighboring communities were passing out incentives like candy, Claeys chose to stay in its hometown.

“We did look at the Plymouth area, Niles, Mishawaka, But this is our home. We’ve been here for over a century. I really didn’t want to move. I’d really rather expand and start the second century of our business and future generations right here in South Bend.”

The City of South Bend is offering tax abatement and on Monday, the South Bend Common Council unanimously voted in favor of the deal--although the process requires a second vote.

Claeys owns the current factory on South Taylor Street—and the parking lot to the west of the third base entrance of Four Winds Field.

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