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Edy’s project to add 32 jobs

Expansion costs $4.5 million, adds 2,500 square feet

Forget about making doughnuts, it’s time to make the ice cream.

Edy’s Grand Ice Cream will celebrate a $4.5 million expansion during a ribbon-cutting event Tuesday at its operations, 3426 N. Wells St. The company also is seeking to fill 32 production positions starting at $13.75 an hour. The jobs are coming from a new soft-serve product the company is developing.

Last year, Edy’s said it would invest $1.5 million on a 2,500-square-foot expansion that would include a renovated cafeteria, men’s and women’s locker rooms, two meeting rooms, office space and a new uniform storage area. Human Resources Manager Rick Benson said Friday that equipment, IT support and other infrastructure improvements added $3 million to the cost.

“It was more than expected when it was all said and done,” he said. “We’re getting new workers, so they’re keeping me busy.”

The plant’s 460 existing production employees make about $35,000 a year. The facility also employs about 100 in management. The $4.5 million investment is in addition to $28 million in normal equipment and building upgrades the company expects to make over the next four years, officials said.

Edy’s has been on a growth spurt over the last five years or so. It created 120 full-time production jobs in 2010 when it boosted production of Nestle Drumsticks. The company also invested in a $29.5 million expansion in 2008 that created 114 jobs.