Skip to main content

The maker of Red Hots is closing its MN plant, and 100-plus workers could lose jobs

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Ferrara Candy Company – known for producing Lemonheads, Red Hots, Atomic Fireballs, Boston Baked Beans, Brach’s, Jawbusters and Now and Laters – will be closing its Winona plant next month.

The company will move its production capacity from Winona to a facility in Bellwood, Illinois, which has more modern equipment, Ferrara said in a statement to BringMeTheNews.

The plant's closure comes after a Feb. 14 fire at the factory, which caused "extensive damage" to candy-making equipment, the Winona Daily News reports.

Ferrara says "expanding production in Bellwood will help increase productivity and support the company’s continued growth."

100-plus employees could lose jobs

The closing will affect 124 employees in Winona, according to reports.

But the Winona Post pegs that number is closer to 200 when taking into account the approximately 80 temporary workers who are employed through local temp agencies.

Laid-off employees can also apply for other positions within the company, Ferrara said in the statement.

"Of course, decisions that affect people are never easy and this was not one we took lightly," the statement said. "We greatly value our employees’ hard work and dedication on behalf of Ferrara and are committed to treating all employees with dignity and respect. We are committed to providing transition assistance and severance for affected Winona employees."

Winona WorkForce Center Director Mike Haney told the Winona Post he believes there are enough open positions for the laid-off workers to find a job, and the center has applied for a grant to help train the workers for other positions.

A bittersweet history

The plant, built in 1940 by the Schuler Candy Company, has changed owners over the years with candy company mergers and acquisitions, the Winona Daily News says.

It became the country's primary producer of Gummi Bears when they became popular in the United States in 1986, the LaCrosse Tribune notes.

In 2012, Farley & Sathers merged with Ferrara Pan to form Ferrara Candy in 2012, the Winona Daily News says. The company also has factories in Iowa, Tennessee and Mexico.

Next Up

Julissa Thaler

Eli Hart killing: Police investigating multiple crime scenes

An announcement Tuesday confirmed potential crime scenes in Mound and Minnetrista.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota strike.

Twin Cities mental health workers gather for 1-day strike

More than 400 mental health workers are participating in the unionized strike on Tuesday.

Bloomington Fire

HAZMAT team at Bloomington hotel following chemical spill in pool

The fire department said two hotel employees are being evaluated by paramedics.

Screen Shot 2022-03-24 at 9.21.32 AM

Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities gets $6M of Mackenzie Scott donation

The donation is the largest the organization has ever seen from a single individual.

Hennepin Avenue S.

Minneapolis accused of backtracking on 24/7 bus lanes for Hennepin Ave.

The Minneapolis City Council is set to vote on Thursday.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

Duluth brings back masking in city buildings amid COVID surge

Duluth, in one of the state's current COVID hotspots, has brought back a mask requirement in city buildings.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, May 24

Minnesota has now surpassed 12,600 COVID deaths.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Violent Offender Task Force in standoff with suspect in St. Cloud

Police announced the standoff at 10:14 a.m. Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2022-03-26 at 11.08.59 AM

Cause of fire that destroyed Waterville bar remains unknown

The fire destroyed the Funky Munky Bar and damaged several other properties.

dicks house of sport Minnetonka_48

Pro athletes to attend opening of Minnetonka Dick's Sporting Goods

The grand opening is set for June 3, with special guests appearing June 3-5.

Minneapolis police

Death of man found inside Minneapolis apartment ruled homicide

Anyone with information about the killing is asked to call 1-800-222-8477.

minnesota state fair bandshell concert

Minnesota State Fair reveals its free concert lineup for 2022

More than 900 performances will happen across numerous stages.


Longtime candy maker closing plant, cutting jobs

After more than 75 years in Round Lake, Farley's & Sather's Candy Company is closing its southwestern Minnesota headquarters. Up to 100 jobs at the plant will be phased out starting this summer and continue through the spring of next year. Last month, the Minnesota-based candy maker announced it had agreed to merge with Ferrara Pan Candy in suburban Chicago. The new headquarters will be based in Illinois.