News Coverage: Journal Gazette
Pretzels Inc. adding 50 jobs at its facility
April 10, 2012 — By DAVE SCHULTZ
Pretzels Inc. is in the process of adding 50 to 60 new regular production and support positions, the company announced Monday.
Pretzels Inc. is a Bluffton-based manufacturer of snack foods. In announcing the additions to its workforce, the company said improvements in the business and increases in sales warrant the additional regular positions. The company also hopes the hirings will put a dent in the Wells County unemployment rate, which is still hovering around 8 percent.
Alan Candioto, the company’s human resources director, said the hiring would be done over the next four to six weeks. The company will not be expanding, he said, but will be adding additional employees to its existing shifts and adding some weekend positions.
Pretzels Inc. operates bakeries in Bluffton and in Canonsburg, Pa., producing a wide variety of pretzel products in addition to a selection of extruded corn-cheese products.
“Our business has been blessed with continued steady growth,” said CEO Steve Huggins. “We believe that several factors have contributed to this, including quality products, focus on customer service and the fact that we have a great relationship with this community.
“With our growth, some positions which were formerly deemed temporary are now being made regular full-time employees. We strongly believe that regular experienced employees help our business. Our business serves a varied clientele and experienced employees understand this.
“We are delighted that we can make this investment with our personnel,” Huggins said. “It is a win-win situation.”
Bluffton Mayor Ted Ellis echoed the sentiment that the hirings were good for the community. “It shows that the economy is coming back — maybe not as fast as we would like, but it is coming back.
Pretzels Inc. says it currently employs approximately 270 full-time employees with many represented by Teamsters Local 414. Starting wages begin at $10.25 plus benefits and go up depending on the position and experience. Pretzels Inc. is working in conjunction with the state employment service (WorkOne) and ManPower to identify interested and suitable candidates.
The company has been in the area since 1954. After a merger with Bachman Foods in 1962, the company decided to focus on markets other than the Midwest. The original founders decided to capitalize on the Midwest market and formed Pretzels Inc. in 1978. In 1988, the sons of the founders, William “Chip” Mann II and Huggins, joined the company and today provide leadership for the operation. Despite a devastating fire that destroyed the plant on Christmas Eve of 1997, the plant was rebuilt and today plays a significant role in the snack food industry.