ROBSINSON, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — Hershey continues to expand as it welcome two brands to the Robinson plant.

Mounds and Almond Joy will now be solely produced in Robinson and with that comes an addition of 141 thousand square feet and three new lines of production.

Hershey Plant Manager, Robbie Nethery, is excited about Hershey’s dedication to community development.

“With this expansion it’s going to bring over 120 new jobs. It’s a big shot for our community but it’s also an opportunity for our community to grow,” Nethery said.

With the plant expansion, both housing and daycare needs within the community were at the forefront. Hershey teamed up with community partners, like Resa Shaner with the Crawford County Development Association to offer support to help the community grow as Hershey grows.

“We already had a need for housing and a need for additional childcare but began to look at what does that really look like,” Shaner said.

That’s when local organizations came together through contributions for a housing study to be completed.

“They study revealed that to keep up with the housing pace that we currently had, the need we currently had, plus the growth, we would need to generate over 200 homes each year,” Shaner said. “That’s 1000 homes and a huge lift and instead of our community being intimidated, they said, ‘no, we’re going to do it’ and we’re going to make it happen.”

With the addition of more jobs and more homes for families in the area, the study revealed a need to increase daycare capacity in the area. Hershey has contributed over $100,000 towards various children and youth initiatives.

“We are working to bring quality care, licensed care and attract more people to our community. Crawford County is a great place to live, it’s a great place to raise children. I’ve raised five here and it’s been a great experience,” Shaner said.

The growth and community mindset will benefit the entire community, not just Hershey employees.

“It’s for the community, right? So, how do we better our community? Because again, we all win and that goes back to Milton Hershey’s legacy, ‘how do I make something better,'” Nethery said.

“Robinson has three fortune 500 companies here. We are a geographic anomaly in southeastern Illinois,” Shaner said.