From left to right, Bob Sutherland (CEO), Al Skiver (Builder), Todd Ciolek (COO) and Roni Hazelton (Director of DFC Operations) plant their shovels in the ground and move the first piles of dirt, officially beginning construction in Empire. On Friday, May 23, Cherry Republic broke ground on our new cherry factory in Empire. Located behind our current facility in the beautiful northern Michigan village of Empire, our new addition will nearly double the size of our current facility giving us greater flexibility and expanding our production capabilities. We'll be making Cherry Boomchunkas, Wonderbars, Salsa, BBQ Sauces, and all sorts of new cherry creations in this state-of-the-art factory that will rival Willy Wonka's. It took us 4 years to get everything in order to break ground, and we are very excited that work has started. This project has been 4 long years in the making. Over the years, multiple rounds of drafting and planning were undertaken, numerous calls were made, and many rejections were received. There were many hurdles to overcome for this much needed addition to become a reality. After years of dreams, denials, meetings, and sketches that only a 4 year old could understand, we finally received the green light. Our current distribution and fulfillment center was built at the turn of the century. Between then and now the DFC as been the beating heart of the Republic, sending out millions of pounds of cherries and gift boxes to friends and family all over the world. We're excited and proud to be rooting ourselves even deeper into northern Michigan and this new facility will help us ship many more millions of pounds of our cherished ruby red morsels of joy all over the world. Todd Ciolek, Cherry Republic COO, analyzes blueprints for the last time before construction begins. Tuesday, May 27: Foundation stakes were planted and the facility begins to take shape. As the construction proceeds, we will update this post with new photos and news so come back and see what's happening!