Ferrara Candy Co. is planning a series of enhancements to its manufacturing network, including increasing the manufacturing capacity and capabilities of its Bellwood, IL manufacturing facility, and opening a new packaging center in Bolingbrook, IL.

The Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.- candy maker says it’s growth in the Chicago region is an effort to support Walmart's commitment to purchase an additional $250 billion in products supporting U.S. jobs by 2023.

Ferrara intends to produce a full line of candy products in Chicago that will be sold in Walmart stores across the country.

While Ferrara has supplied U.S.-produced confectionery items to Walmart for many years, this partnership will enable Ferrara to manufacture an even greater range of American products. And, the company expects the U.S.-made Ferrara candies to be available in Walmart stores this summer.

"Today's announcement is an important milestone in Ferrara's strategy to optimize our manufacturing capabilities and network," says Todd Siwak, ceo of Ferrara Candy Co. "We are thrilled to expand our collaboration with Walmart in a way that fuels job creation in our hometown region and puts even more U.S.-made products on store shelves."

The manufacturing enhancements, which include a robust infrastructure build-out and the introduction of state-of-the-art technology, are expected to create more than 100 jobs in the Chicago metropolitan area over the next 18 months.

The expansion at Bolingbrook follows Ferrara's move into a new 750,000 sq.-ft. facility in April 2014.

The whole initiative further expands the longstanding relationship between Ferrara and Walmart. In Feb. 2015, Ferrara was selected by Walmart as their food division Made in the USA Supplier of the Year.

"Suppliers like Ferrara are making a significant impact in communities across the country and creating much-needed U.S. jobs," says Cindi Marsiglio, v.p. of U.S. manufacturing for Walmart. "We are excited to begin offering these products to our customers in our stores beginning this summer."

Joe Grady, v.p. of confections & impulse at Walmart, says the Ferrara’s move is another example of why Walmart believes the revitalization of U.S. manufacturing is possible.

"This is a great illustration of what can be accomplished when business leaders, companies and local governments work together, and we're excited those efforts will create meaningful job growth in the U.S.A.," he says.

Headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., Ferrara Candy Co. was created by the merger of Ferrara Pan Candy Company, Inc. and Farley's & Sathers Candy Co., Inc. in 2012.