Haribo’s decision to build its first U.S. gummi bear plant in Kenosha rather than near Chicago was based partially on seeing smiling faces during a visit to the Brat Stop restaurant near Interstate 94.

That visit came as Haribo of America leaders explored sites near both communities to build a candy manufacturing plant. Wes Saber, executive vice president and CFO of Haribo of America, visited Kenosha County with Haribo’s chairman Hans Riegel (third-generation leader) so they could get a better feel for the community. Saber said that, at the start of the search for a plant site, he was partial to the Chicago area. But that was before coming to Kenosha with Riegel.

“People were smiling,” Saber recalled. “People were happy. Haribo, we were welcomed, it’s great. That personal piece of it was very important, even when you add it to the numbers, that becomes very powerful.”

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