Russell Stover Chocolates is closing its candy plant in Montrose, Colo., but this one isn’t entirely on COVID-19.
In January, the company announced that it would shutter the plant and retail store by March 2021, but the novel coronavirus pandemic is causing the company to close the doors seven months early.
According to the Canon City Daily Record, about 217 employees will be out of work by the end of August, when operations move to Kansas and Texas. When the chocolate maker made the initial announcement in January, the plant had 400 employees on staff.
The candy factory has been in business for 45 years, and the plant was the largest manufacturer in town. Russell Stover selected the site for its fourth factory in the early 1970s because it wanted a location that was at a high altitude. The idea was that chocolates created at high altitude were more resistant to altitude pressure during shipment.
According to Forbes, the family-owned Russell Stover was sold to Swiss company Lindt & Sprüngli in a deal valued at $1.5 billion. Lindt & Sprüngli is the company behind familiar brands including Whitman's and Ghirardelli.