DERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — The former Friendly’s in near Hershey is becoming just a memory. Demolition crews began tearing down the restaurant to make room for a new factory for The Hershey Company. At a time when many companies are cutting workers, Hershey is expanding locally and bringing new jobs.

Demolition started around 11:30 Tuesday morning, stopping for the day with one wall of the restaurant nearly gone and two dumpsters filled with debris. Hershey said this is a major move towards growing the company.

“We’re very excited about it,” Matt Crocker, head of real estate transactions for The Hershey Company, said. “It’s a big step.”

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The demolition is making way for a little more sugar in this place famous for its sweet tooth.

“I think it’s going to have some nice aesthetics that are similar to some of the classic Hershey buildings that you’re seeing in the town now,” Crocker said.

Going up on the site will be a new 250,000 square foot Hershey chocolate factory. The new plant will support existing factories churning out Hershey favorites.

“A lot of the product that’s produced right now in Hershey at the west and at the east plant are ultimately finished products so this plant will support those plants,” Crocker said.

It’s part of a billion dollar investment The Hershey Company is making, facing demand at an all-time high.

“In response to that, we’ve been increasing our capacity at all the plants,” Crocker said.

Like so many companies, Hershey has faced supply chain issues in the last few years, but they say this expansion will help keep the chocolate flowing.

“Our team has been at the forefront of being innovative in how to really meet the demand and basically be able to work through those challenges,” Crocker said.

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Demolition should wrap up in a few days with construction on the factory starting in the late November or early December. The factory is expected to open in 2024.