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US-based pretzel snack maker Stellar Snacks has announced plans to invest $137m in a new factory in West Louisville, Kentucky.

The money is expected to fund 350 new jobs at the new site over the next ten years.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said in a statement that the company project “is the single largest investment and job-creation project in the community over the last several decades”.

The facility will be the company’s latest and largest industrial pretzel bakery in Louisville and will be built onto an existing 434,000-square-foot building situated at 1391 Dixie Highway.

Construction of the new factory is set to begin in March 2024, with operations starting the following September.

New jobs at the site will include master pretzel-maker and apprentice roles, as well as production team members, engineering and maintenance managers, mechanics, technicians, receptionists, and human resources assistants.

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Stellar Snacks expects to open the facility with approximately 100 employees, the firm’s co-founder Elisabeth Galvin told Courier Journal.

Company executives are also expected to partner with local community colleges and trade schools to offer work experience and jobs to students studying industrial, electrical and robotic engineering.

A hiring process will start once building work starts in March 2024.

The company must secure approval for state incentives from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority before construction can begin.

Such incentives could include funding for building rail access to the factory and “per-job grants with added benefits” for employees based in any of the nine West Louisville neighbourhoods.

“I am thrilled to celebrate Stellar Snacks’ decision to locate in west Louisville. This is a major announcement for the community, adding more than 300 quality jobs with a $137m investment in one of our most underserved areas,” Louisville’s Mayor Craig Greenberg said in a statement.

“Stellar Snacks is a company that shares our values of innovation, sustainability and diversity, and we are honored to welcome them to our city.”

Founded in 2019 by mother and daughter Elisabeth and Gina Galvin, Stellar Snacks is the first woman-owned pretzel producer in the US, according to the company.

It has two plants in northern Nevada with 170 employees. Its headquarters are in Carson City, Nevada.

Stellar’s pretzel braids are sold in more than 5,000 grocery and retail stores in the US, as well as online. It also supplies products to Alaska Airlines, JetBlue and American Airlines for their in-flight snack service.

The snacks come in four “gourmet flavours”, but the group has indicated that upcoming product innovation will help it expand its selection early next year.

“We are thrilled to share that our business has seen astronomical growth after launching our brand in 2021, thanks to our people, passion and exquisite product. Since then, we have been on a mission to expand production coast to coast,” said Elisabeth Galvin.

“We are proud to announce that we have selected Louisville as our home in the Midwest. The outcome will be an important success story for our team and the people of the great state of Kentucky.”