LEMARS — LeMars-based ice cream maker Wells Enterprises is expanding its production facility in Dunkirk, New York. Chief Operating Officer Mark Meyer says the expansion will more than double the facility’s current production, and add 200 new jobs to the local workforce.
“We’re excited for Wells you know this is an outcome of our significant growth trajectory over the last you know decade. It allows us to you know continue to invest in Le Mars, continue to invest in our Henderson (Nevada) facility, but also out here so that we can have a nice balanced network,” he says. The company produces the Blue Bunny brand and Meyer says the increased production in New York will take some of the pressure off the other production facilities with the growth in demand for novelty and packaged ice cream.
‘It will allow us to have more predictable schedules so that way when we have the surge capacity, we’re not you know, leaning in and saying, hey, we need to go run, seven days this weekend, next weekend, next week. We will be able to balance that surge demand across the network,” Meyer says.”Our investment, as you may or may not be aware, we are continuing to invest in some renovation in Le Mars.
He says Le Mars will remain the key in their production. “As we look at some of the modernization of equipment, adding lines there, I think we’ll have added up to seven lines there over the last couple of years and including this upcoming year. So our investment will continue to be there,” he says. “We’re on a growth trajectory and we honestly just need the footprint. East for east, west for west and central for central. But ultimately obviously Le Mars is really the core of where we are and honestly, I think we’ll still have 70, 70 plus percent of our volume will still be coming out of Le Mars”
The company says Wells produces more than 200 million gallons of ice cream per year and distributes products in all 50 states. Wells has nearly four thousand employees across the country.