Empowering Communities

COVID-19 impacts don’t deter ComEd from helping local business develop

March 23, 2021

There is no way to sugar-coat the impacts COVID-19 has had on the economy, but Ferrara Candy Company’s new development in DeKalb, Ill., provides hope for the future.

When the 110-year-old confectioner needed additional space for a new distribution and packaging center, it turned to ComEd’s economic development team to help with the details.

Through ComEd’s help, the Chicago-based candy manufacturer is now constructing a 1.6-million-square-foot distribution and packaging center in DeKalb’s ChicagoWest Business Center. Ferrara plans to invest more than $100 million into the development, which is expected to be fully operational by the spring of 2021 and will bring hundreds of jobs to the city.

Ferrara Candy Company's development in DeKalb's ChicagoWest Business Center

 Jerry Krusinski, Krusinski Construction Company CEO, says the facility wouldn’t have been made possible without help from its multiple partners, including ComEd’s economic and workforce development team, which provides hands-on, personalized guidance to companies like Ferrara that are considering expanding in northern Illinois.

“The relationship I have with employees at ComEd has been of such value to the success of the facility,” Krusinski said. “We seek the company’s guidance to understand how much power is needed for the acres of land we are looking to develop. But even before that, it’s a multi-group effort to bring any client to Illinois, and ComEd’s economic and workforce development team are part of that.”

ComEd’s economic and workforce development staff brings together all business unit partners – from system planning and design to construction and operations – to expedite cost and engineering information to support a prospective company’s decision-making process. In addition, the team ensures companies maximize cost savings by taking advantage of energy efficiency incentives and considering the use of renewable energy options like solar.

“Leading workforce and economic development during this time feels like a calling,” said Diana Sharpe, vice president of economic and workforce development at ComEd. “As leaders in this field, it is our job, and really our duty, to continue to find opportunities for growth and development in our economy and workforce to help people and businesses persevere. Through collaboration, a talented workforce, legislation, and partnership, we are able to achieve these goals for Ferrara.”