P.I.M. Brands Breaks Ground For Expansion, To Include Visitor’s Center

P.I.M. Brands executives at their 80,000-square-foot addition groundbreaking May 30. Company CEO and founder Michael Rosenberg is at far right.

P.I.M. Brands – maker of fruit snacks such as Welch’s Fruit Rolls – is expanding its facilities in the township, breaking ground May 30 on an 80,000-square-foot addition to one of its Cottontail Lane buildings.

The $30 million expansion will be home to manufacturing and distribution, as well as a new visitor’s center which will encompass the Welch’s Food Snacks Factory Tour, said Michael G. Rosenberg, the company’s founder and CEO.

The addition will result in a 250,000-square-foot building to join a neighboring 175,000-square-foot building and a third 325,000-square-foot building about a half mile away, Rosenberg said.

Not bad for a business Rosenberg started in his American University dorm room 40 years ago with $150.

“Our company’s growth has been dramatic,” he said. Corporate headquarters are in Allendale and besides Franklin, P.I.M. has manufacturing facilities elsewhere in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Spain.

Rosenberg said he believes the Welch’s factory tours will attract about 1 million people a year to the township “to see how the magic happens, how we make Welch’s Fruit Snacks and Fruit Roll-Ups and our original Gummy mix and all the other great products we produce here at the plant.”

“They’re going to see everything,” he said. “They’re going to see how the products get manufactured, how they get packaged, how they get shipped, from soup to nuts, they’re going to see it all.”

P.I.M. manufactures and distributes Welch’s Fruit Rolls and Fruit Snacks, Gummi Fun Mix and Buddy Bears and Suisse chocolate bars, among other products.

Its newest company, P.I.M. Pharma, manufactures vitamins, supplements and minerals, and will soon be moving into over-the-counter products, Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg estimated that when the addition is operational – which could be as soon as march of 2020 – the company will produce about 125 million pounds of its product each year.

“Consumers eat about 100 packs every second of Welch’s Fruit Snacks,” he said.

Expanding the Franklin Township location “just made sense for us,” he said. “We have other facilities, but we’re proud of the fact that we’re making high-quality products here and being able to make more of them with the demand for our products continuously increasing is a good business decision.”

“We’re very pleased and proud to be adding to this facility and contributing to the local community, and just basically expanding what we’ve already built,” he said.

Also on hand for the groundbreaking were Mayor Phil Kramer, Township Councilman Will Galtieri, Somerset County Freeholder Director Brian Levine and Somerset County Freeholder Shanel Robinson.

“I think it’s terrific,” Kramer said. He noted that warehouse space causes “little wear and tear to our infrastructure,” and that the company will employ about 850 people in the township.

Kramer said the fact that the facility is being built shows that efforts begun about five years ago to improve the township’s permitting and building code operations have paid off.

Building owner “CenterPoint is singing the praises of how great it is to partner with our people and get things done, so Franklin is open for business,” he said.

“This is a great day for Franklin Township and Somerset County, bringing manufacturing and jobs to the community,” Robinson said. “I think we’re in a day and age where manufacturing jobs and trade jobs are on the rise.”

Levine said the expansion is good for the township and the county.

“This is great, it’s going to be jobs, it’s going to be taxes, it’s going to be entertainment for people,” he said. “A win-win all around.”

Rosenberg hinted that more “entertainment” may be coming the township’s way; he said he has a large candy collection that dates back to the 1800s, and he’s considering bringing it to the township as another destination spot.

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