Stratham-based Lindt USA to expand facility, produce Ghiradelli productsBy GRETYL MACALASTER
Special to the Union Leader
March 09. 2014 4:09PM
STRATHAM — Lindt USA will once again expand their national headquarters with the addition of about 100,000 square feet of space.
The proposal was unanimously approved by the Stratham Planning Board Wednesday night.
The expansion will allow Lindt to start producing Ghiradelli products in Stratham. The company acquired the Ghiradelli brand in 1998.
It is the most recent in a series of expansions at the Swiss company's United States headquarters.
In 2010, about 40,000 square feet was added for cocoa liquor production, allowing the company to control every aspect of chocolate making from bean to finished product in one location. In 2011, about 36,000 square feet was added for corporate office space, new retail space and new entry.
Stratham Town Planner Lincoln Daley said they expect to see another proposal for additional warehouse space from Lindt in the next couple of years.
"Our understanding is they have a facilities master plan for facility expansion which is part of a past approval and which laid out future expansion on their site, so it is something we anticipated going forward," Daley said.
Daley said Lindt USA is a great corporate citizen and adds a lot to the local economy, and the new expansion could add as many as 30 new jobs at the facility.
He said he expects Lindt USA to apply for a building permit and start construction as soon as possible.
Daley said no problems about the expansion were expressed by the board but some abutters did have concerns about noise. He said Lindt was responsive to the concerns and both the town and the abutters felt the issue was being resolved.
Lindt USA owns about 89 acres on Fine Chocolate Place. Daley was unclear on Friday how many acres are currently occupied.
The Stratham facility is currently the only Lindt factory outside of Switzerland that can process its ingredients from start to finish.
Lindt & Sprungli was founded in 1845 and offers high-quality chocolate products in more than 125 countries. The country operates eight production facilities in Europe and the United States and employs about 7,400 people worldwide. About 1,050 of those employees are based in the United States.