Russell Stover Chocolates has announced changes that will include the closure of its production facility in Montrose in the spring of 2021.
The company also plans to close what it described as “low-traffic” stores over the course of the next year, including the retail outlet in Montrose. A total of about 400 positions will be affected by the changes.
“Having been in business since 1923, we know the importance of keeping pace with the changing tastes and preferences of the people who buy our chocolates,” Andy Deister, chief executive officer of Russell Stover, stated in a news release. “Just as consumers change their preferred flavor or package, they’re changing the way the shop for our products, and we’re making sure we have the infrastructure to deliver on their expectations.”
Russell Stover also expects to close distribution and fulfillment facilities in Cookeville, Tenn., and Butler, Mo., later this year.
At the same time, the company plans to expand facilities in Corscicana, Texas, and Abilene and Iola, Kansas, and add 300 positions at those locations.
The changes follows the acquisition of Russell Stover by Lindt & Sprungli North American.
Employees in Montrose and other locations with closing facilities will be offered positions at other Russell Stover facilities. Employees also will receive severance, continued health care coverage and other benefits, the company announced.
According to the Montrose Economic Development Corp., Russell Stover ranks third among major employers, behind only the Montrose County School District with more than 1,000 employees and the Montrose Memorial Hospital with more than 700 employees. Russell Stover has operated in Montrose for more than 50 years.
The company operates a 305,000-square foot-factory that makes more than 12 million pounds of chocolates annually. The company added a warehouse and in 1995 opened a 10,000-square-foot retail outlet.
Founded in Denver in 1923, Russell Stover has been based in Kansas City since 1932. In 1993, the company acquired the Whitman brand.