PLEASANT PRAIRIE — The Jelly Belly Candy Company, an iconic tourist destination in Pleasant Prairie, is packing up its train, closing the retail outlet store and selling its 40-acre property for $4.3 million in a relocation to Tennessee.
Officials with the Fairfield, Calif.-based company announced the strategic change in the retail operations. The company has been downsizing some of its operations in northern Illinois and Pleasant Prairie over the past few years.
Jelly Belly relocated a distribution facility to Tennessee three years ago. It has moved some of its manufacturing from North Chicago, Ill., to Fairfield, Calif.
Five years ago, Jelly Belly announced it was selling the Pleasant Prairie facility, but later began looking to lease some of its warehouse space.
In January, Jelly Belly leased 102,000 square feet of warehouse space to Rustoleum Corp., the paints and coatings firm that was searching for more storage space. The 233,000 square foot warehouse at the Jelly Belly site was built in 2000.
Twenty-five warehouse employees and some part-time store employees who learned of the the company’s move Monday will have an opportunity to relocate to the company’s production facility in North Chicago.
A company spokeswoman confirmed the building is for sale but said there is no specific timetable.
A liquidation sale is scheduled for Monday at its retail outlet store and warehouse at 10100 Jelly Belly Lane, just off Green Bay Road (Highway 31) and Highway 165.
Since 2001, Jelly Belly has operated a visitor’s center, outlet store and its Jelly Belly Express train tour of the warehouse featuring videos and samples. It recently upgraded its Jelly Belly Station area with interactive games and exhibits. Visitors learned how the company’s candy was made and that President Ronald Reagan popularized the iconic jelly bean in the 1960s.
The Jelly Belly tour has been one of the area’s featured destination for visitors to Kenosha County and has been prominently featured in the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Guide.
Dennis DuChene II, visitors bureau president, said Jelly Belly had been a good stopping off point for visitors from Interstate 94. They would be directed by staff at the KACVB information center.
It was somewhat like of a magnet that drew people to other destinations in the area, according to DuChene.
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