That bites

That bites

Life might be a box of chocolates, but for Montrose, things aren’t so sweet right now.

On Tuesday, chocolate-maker Russell Stover announced it will be shuttering its Montrose plant next year. The company has operated in the West Slope community of about 20,000 for 40 years and employs around 400 people, including part-time and seasonal employees.

"Making that decision is probably one of the hardest business decisions we've had to make. So there's a sense of loss, and we feel that," company spokesman Robbie Vorhaus told Colorado Public Radio News.

The Montrose plant is slated to close in the spring of 2021, and Vorhaus said employees will be given the option to transfer to the company's expanded facilities in Kansas and Texas. Those who don't transfer or retire will be offered severance packages.

Vorhaus described the decision to close the plant as "wrenching" but ultimately a “business decision that was required for us to continue to grow and for us to continue to meet changing consumer needs, purchasing decisions and tastes."

The closure is likely to be a blow to the economy of Montrose County, which has a population of around 42,000. The company is listed as a “primary employer” by the Montrose Economic Development Corporation.

In addition to the Montrose facility, Russell Stover will close two distribution centers, in Tennessee and Missouri, and close some of its storefronts around the country in the coming year.

The company was founded in Denver almost 100 years ago, although the headquarters moved to Kansas City shortly after. It was purchased in 2014 by Swiss chocolate-maker Lindt, and this move comes as the companies continue to streamline operations, according to a press release.

Top Stories

Finding Kylo
10/22/2020
Finding Kylo
By Missy Votel

How to catch a husky? Trail cams, rotisserie chicken and lots of patience 
 

Read More
New school
10/15/2020
New school
By Missy Votel

9-R bond issue would address maintenance backlog, facility needs

Read More
Ballot cheat sheet: from Gallagher to gambling, we got the goods
10/15/2020
Ballot cheat sheet: from Gallagher to gambling, we got the goods
By Missy Votel

The breakdown on everything from bingo and wolves to taxes and a guy named Gallagher

Read More
A healthy outlook
10/08/2020
A healthy outlook
By Missy Votel

Southwest Health Alliance perseveres, announces new plan with 35% savings
 

Read More
Read All in Top Stories

The Pole

Club car
10/22/2020

Leave it to Mountain Village to come up with a novel solution to the er, novel coronavirus. The ritzy upstairs neighbor to Telluride has announce plans to refurbish gondola cars for socially-distanced dining in the Mountain Village plaza.

Revved up
10/15/2020

If you think town seemed strangely busy this summer despite a pandemic going on, you’re right. The Durango Business Improvement District recently released La Plata County sales tax numbers for July, indicated a big bump for local retail. 

A shot in the arm
10/15/2020

If you haven’t gotten your flu shot, now’s the time to belly up. San Juan Basin Public Health is hosting upcoming walk-up flu clinics open to the general public:  

The last run
10/08/2020

It’s time to hoist those tattered, duct-taped ski pants up the flagpole and run ’em at half mast. In case you haven’t seen the eulogies pouring out across mountainland, Powder is dead. Of course we’re talking about the iconic 48-year-old publication, revered as "the Bible" by ski bums and soul skiers for its exceptional photography, realistic reflection of ski-town life and endless pursuit of fresh tracks.

Read All Stories in the Pole