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Published: Tuesday, 6/25/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

BRYAN, OHIO

Spangler expansion added to its trolley tours

Addition improves firm’s packing operations

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
The newly routed Spangler Trolley tour takes visitors through the company's recently completed 20,000-square-foot expansion. The newly routed Spangler Trolley tour takes visitors through the company's recently completed 20,000-square-foot expansion.
SPANGLER CANDY COMPANY Enlarge

BRYAN, Ohio — After more than three years of construction, the Spangler Candy Co. of Bryan has officially integrated a new 20,000-square-foot addition designed to augment packing operations at its Bryan manufacturing plant.

The building expansion actually was completed during the first quarter of 2013 and has been in operation since then, but it was just this month that the company felt comfortable enough with the new addition to include it on its trolley tour for visitors.

“I guess you could say it’s really complete now,” said Kirk Vashaw, Spangler president and chief executive officer. “It was a big, complicated project.”

Spangler first began planning for the $5 million expansion, which was designed to create more room to produce and package its Dum Dum Pops line and its branded candy canes lines, in 2009. A groundbreaking was held in 2010. The final equipment was installed last year and became operational in the first quarter of this year.

Spangler added robotic packaging equipment that lets it fill four different sized packages of Dum Dums lollipops simultaneously. It also added equipment that stacks and places boxes of candy on pallets, Mr. Vashaw said.

“The automatic case packers and palletization helps reduce labor but, just as important, is having people not lift heavy cases to prevent back injuries. That was work a lot of people didn’t like to do anyway,” the CEO said.

Normally, a 20,000-square-foot addition to a 550,000-square-foot operation wouldn’t take so long, but Mr. Vashaw said the addition meant moving a waste product docking area and adding equipment to existing production lines while not disrupting the ongoing production process.

“This wasn’t a greenfield site. We were still making 10 million Dum Dums a day while doing this,” he said. “We’re very proud we were able to make this project work and still make our products and maintain safety ratings.”

And since Spangler added the new addition to its factory tour, visitors enjoy seeing how the company moves its sweet treats out of the factory in bulk. “It’s really enhanced the tour and people certainly love seeing the new automation,” Mr. Vashaw said.

“In fact, we designed it knowing that the trolley would come around it at some point. We always hoped it would be a good addition to the trolley tour, and that’s been the case,” he added.

Bryan is 55 miles west of Toledo.

Public tours of the factory are available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays in the summer. In the winter, tours are offered Wednesday through Friday. The tour costs $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children 6-18. Younger children are free.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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