On a warm May weekend in this Central Valley town, the irony was thick.
As usual, the annual Chocolate Festival was drawing hordes of fun-seekers. But Hershey Co., Oakdale’s biggest employer and the nation’s biggest candy company, is closing its plant here, eliminating all 575 jobs. The company will open a factory in Monterrey, Mexico, to handle the production.
One man at the festival wore a T-shirt that said on the front: “Where did ‘the great American candy bar’ go?” Asked for the answer, he whirled around to display the back: “Mexico!”
I’m a little late to this news story about Hershey moving one of their plants from Oakdale, California to Mexico, but this weekend was the first time I’d heard about it.
As stated in the article, the move will put almost 600 people out of work. I know, of course, that money is important to any business, that goes without saying, but with the experience I’ve had with companies outsourcing out of country, I can’t say it’s leaving a positive impression. I haven’t had a reason to really research what’s going on with the company — up until a month ago my chocolate concerns stopped at how much I had left on the snack shelf in the cupboard! — but now I’m interested and wondering if Hershey has a real need to be trying to save money or if it’s just a general big-company-moving-to-save-big-bucks situation.
The message board where I found the article was full of people declaring they were going to swear off Hershey’s and while I can’t say for sure that I’m going to be swearing off anything, I have a confession to make: I’m not a big Hershey fan in the first place. Not necessarily of the company, I mean with the chocolate itself. Something changed a few years ago and the chocolate doesn’t taste real to me anymore and the mouth feel is getting waxy. Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that too?
The 113-year-old company has described the plant shutdown as part of a “global supply-chain transformation.” Overall, about 3,000 of Hershey’s 13,000 workers will lose their jobs, including as many as 900 in the company’s hometown of Hershey, Pa. By 2010, Hershey says, the moves will save shareholders as much as $190 million annually.
What do you think of Hershey’s move? Will it affect what you buy in the future?