OAKDALE -- An Oakland candy company said today it plans to buy the plant that the Hershey Co. recently abandoned and move all its operations here.
The Sconza Candy Co. said in a news release it planned to close its purchase of the factory on May 1 and begin operations Oct. 1. No purchase price was disclosed.
Janet Sconza-Angers, vice president of customer relations, said the company employs between 100 and 130 workers, depending on the season.
"We expect to hire many of our employees from the local valley communities," she said. "At this time we can't say how many of our Oakland staff will make the move with us to Oakdale."
Mayor Ferrell Jackson welcomed the news, saying Sconza is "a large business that is run like a family business, and that's a great fit for Oakdale."
"The owners really liked that because of the size of the city, they knew they could meet with the mayor and the city manager and the other top leaders at a moment's notice if they had to," Jackson said.
The Hershey factory had 575 workers when word came from Pennsylvania headquarters last April that the plant would be shut down. The factory closed on Feb. 1.
Sconza opened for business in the family kitchen in 1939, making only peanut brittle at first but expanding its lines over the years.
"Our collections of jawbreakers, Jordan almonds, Boston beans, and burnt peanuts have expanded to include premium chocolate and yogurt-coated items," the company says on its Web site.
The company's products are sold nationwide.
The company statement said the move would allow it to consolidate its three Oakland plants into the single plant in Oakdale and expand production.