Guittard Chocolate is Sweet on Fairfield
By Nathan Halverson
FAIRFIELD - Guittard Chocolate Co. - the nation's oldest family operated chocolate company - will begin moving its manufacturing operations from its headquarters in Burlingame to its facilities in Fairfield, according to company executives.
Fairfield's location along Interstate 80 between Sacramento and San Francisco was a key enticement to the chocolate company.
Currently, the chocolate maker uses its 280,000-plus-square-foot warehouse in Fairfield solely as a distribution center, while manufacturing its chocolate in Burlingame.
But over the next several years the company hopes to move all of its manufacturing to Fairfield.
"We are looking to try and have something in place, initial production, in 2007," said Gerry Allen, vice president of operations for Guittard. "It is not going to happen in one fell swoop. We will be installing some production over a period of time. It will evolve over the course of several years."
Allen said the initial relocation scheduled for 2007 will create new jobs. But he declined to provide exact numbers.
The company's Fairfield facility, which is about a fourth of the size of Westfield Solano mall, is large enough to incorporate its Burlingame operations, according to Allen.
The privately owned company was founded in San Francisco in 1868 by Frenchman Etienne Guittard, who came to the area with hopes of discovering gold. The company primarily wholesales its chocolates to other candy companies that package the chocolate under another brand.
The news Guittard Chocolate is moving its manufacturing here comes on the heels of Meriden, Conn.-based Thompson Brands announcing it will close its Fairfield chocolate mold manufacturing plant after Easter. Thompson is relocating all operations to its headquarters in Connecticut.
Curt Johnston, assistant director of planning and development for Fairfield, said the city is pleased another chocolate manufacturer will be operating in Fairfield.
In fact, the city recently revived the creation of promotional chocolate bars extolling Fairfield as a good location to do business.
City officials specifically asked that Guittard Chocolate be used. The front of the bar reads "Fairfield: Northern California's Sweet Spot."
Reach Nathan Halverson at 425-4646 ext. 267 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
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