August 22, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces Significant Expansion at Ice Cream Plant in Dunkirk

Governor Hochul Announces Significant Expansion at Ice Cream Plant in Dunkirk

Wells Enterprises’ New Manufacturing Facility Will Retain 401 Jobs and Create More Than 200 New Jobs for the Production of Ice Cream and Frozen Novelty Products

See Rendering of State-of-the-Art Plant Here

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that Wells Enterprises is planning to expand its manufacturing facility in Dunkirk, making a significant investment to create a world-class ice cream plant on its current property. The project will allow the company to add more than 200 new jobs and retain 401 existing full-time jobs. New York 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.

“The new, state-of-art ice cream manufacturing plant in Chautauqua County will create jobs and spur economic growth for years to come,” Governor Hochul said. “This project is a win for hundreds of plant workers, a victory for many local business partners that benefit from the facility, and an important success story for the region’s overall economy.”

Liam Killeen, CEO of Wells Enterprises said, “We are extremely excited to build on the strength of our team in Dunkirk and continue to work with the community to grow and expand our operations here. The investment in Dunkirk illustrates our passion to provide high-quality premium ice cream products that bring joy to consumers around the world. The planned expansion also reinforces our dedication to our team, consumers, and the community as a critical part of the long-term future of our company.”

The Dunkirk manufacturing facility, located at 1 Ice Cream Drive, plays an important role in the company’s expansion plans for its national manufacturing network of its Blue Bunny, Halo Top, Bomb Pop and Blue Ribbon Classics brands. The expansion is anticipated to more than double the facility's current production capacity and help support the company’s continued plans for growth in novelty and packaged ice cream, while enabling future innovation.

Construction will begin on the new facility in the last quarter of 2023. 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 company’s success is strongly supported by local dairy farmers who provide the majority of the fluid milk used at the facility today. 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.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Together we have changed the story in Dunkirk from a major loss to a huge win. The construction of Wells' new state-of-the art ice cream plant will add hundreds of jobs — it's a sweet victory for the community, and ESD is proud to have played a role in negotiating. Whether it is ice cream, yogurt, or cereal, the food manufacturing industry is an important ingredient for our economy. The new high tech production facility in Dunkirk is a taste of the job growth and business opportunity that New York has experienced under Governor Hochul’s leadership.”

The Ferrero Group recently acquired Wells Enterprises, its operations and its ice cream brands.

The two family-owned businesses have a strong history of success. Ferrero, which was founded in 1946, has grown to become a global leader in sweet-packaged foods, including confectionary, ice cream, biscuits, and snacks. Wells has become the world’s largest family owned and managed ice cream company since it was founded in 1913 as a dairy delivery business.

Mark Geise, CEO of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, said, “I am proud that the CCIDA was able to assist the Ferrero Group and Wells Enterprises in bringing this exciting project to fruition. They have been a great partner, and I am grateful that they recognize the quality of the workforce in Dunkirk and chose to make their investment here in our community.”

The ice cream plant will also continue to utilize Americold’s new cold-storage distribution facility located in the Town of Dunkirk, which is providing much-needed storage for the food supply chain in the area. Americold’s $41 million project was supported by up to $700,000 in performance-based taxed credits through the Excelsior Jobs Program in return for the creation of 60 full-time jobs.

State Senator George Borrello said, “Wells Enterprises’ expanded investment in our region is a huge ‘win’ that will create jobs, boost demand from our dairy farmers and enhance our local economy. With its strong foothold in the food processing industry, Dunkirk has the infrastructure and workforce necessary to support this exciting expansion. My appreciation goes out to the Governor, the team at Empire State Development and all the local partners who worked to make this happen. It's a testament to the great things that can be achieved through collaboration."

Assemblymember Andrew Goodell said, "The ice cream facility operated by Wells has been an extremely important part of the economy of Northern Chautauqua County for many decades. It is very exciting to see this substantial investment and a corresponding increase in employment. This project will help ensure that this facility will continue for many years to make high quality ice cream and novelty products with a well-deserved reputation for great taste!"

Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel said, “We are excited to see Wells’ long-term commitment to Chautauqua County and the City of Dunkirk, New York. With the proposed plan from Wells, who was recently acquired by the Ferrero Group, seeing a global company plan to make this significant investment in our community is a testament to the quality of Chautauqua County’s local workforce. I’d also like to thank the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, under the direction of Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and Chief Executive Officer Mark Geise, for their hard work to make this project possible.”

City of Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas said, “The City of Dunkirk is excited for Wells Enterprises 21st Century rebuild and expansion. We are pleased for the hundreds of hard-working employees now at Wells – and the hundreds to be added with the planned expansion – who can plan and build on a generation’s worth of good-paying jobs. These jobs will help populate our schools, create additional value in our city, and allow the employees and their families to live, work, and thrive in our community.”

For additional information about the Ferrero Group, please visit www.ferrero.com.

Addition information about Wells Enterprises can be found at wellsenterprisesinc.com.

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, please visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

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