A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Perfetti Van Melle adds 90 new jobs; donates masks, candy, funds and time to first responders, nonprofits

By Cheryl Besl
Special to NKyTribune

Throughout the pandemic, Perfetti Van Melle, an essential food industry business, has been running its production and warehouse facilities in Erlanger at nearly full capacity 24/7 making and distributing Mentos and Airheads candy.

Erlanger is home to the company’s headquarters functions in North America as well, from sales and marketing to finance and supply chain, and more.

As the pandemic hit earlier this year, the company quickly took its already stringent health and safety measures to the next level to protect employees, while adjusting business operations to ensure consistent employment and production of the sweet treats that comfort consumers and answer their cravings.

Despite the uncertainties created by the global pandemic, Perfetti’s North America leadership team made the decision earlier this year to invest further in the community by giving 75 Erlanger distribution center contractors the opportunity to join the company as full-time employees and adding 15 additional roles there. These employees prepare product shipments and store displays to send to customers throughout the U.S.

Perfetti offers a best-in-class benefits package with flexibility for job rotations, opportunities between facilities, health care, paid sick vacation time and volunteer time, and a 401k plan with a company match. The distribution and warehouse facility opened in May 2019 on the site of the former Showcase Cinema for more efficient consolidated operations featuring many advanced distribution center technologies in the nearly 400,000 square foot space.

The Perfetti Van Melle North America distribution and warehouse center located in Erlanger.

Community Part of Culture

As the maker of Airheads and Mentos in North America, Perfetti recognized early in the pandemic that their candy and mints could be a bridge between first responders and children in the community in Northern Kentucky.

Employees volunteered to deliver cases of candy to emergency first responders in over 40 Northern Kentucky police and fire/EMT stations including the City of Independence, City of Erlanger and City of Fort Mitchell. Candy donations have also brightened the days of children and their families staying at the Ronald McDonald House adjacent to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and of healthcare workers at St. Elizabeth Hospital and other area hospitals. Candy donations will also help the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio in its regional mask distribution program.

“Candy donations are always a highlight for our team – we love seeing the recipients’ smiles when they see all the Mentos and Airheads products,” shared Sylvia Buxton, President & CEO, Perfetti Van Melle North America. “One of our core values is caring for people – that includes our team and the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region.”

Perfetti Van Melle NA President & CEO Sylvia Buxton delivers masks and candy to Chris Carle, President & CEO of St. Elizabeth Provider Network.

In addition to candy donations, Perfetti donated much-needed face masks to St. Elizabeth Hospital and the employees at Perfetti partnered with the Freestore Foodbank in an online food drive in May.

With Perfetti’s charitable donation matching program, employee donations were matched to donate over $3,200 to the Freestore to help families and children in need in this region. The company also made a significant financial donation to the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio recently and is discussing ways to partner with the organization in the future and supporting its community mission.

Currently, Perfetti is planning its 2020 Community Day, an annual event where the entire company traditionally closes down so factory, warehouse, field and office employees can work together to complete large community service projects.

Last year, the Perfetti team built accessible playgrounds with Kaboom! in Evanston and Newport.

Holly Ingram, communications manager, said, “Our employees love our Community Day and this year because of the pandemic, we’re looking at creative ways to still honor the spirit and giving of the day in ways that accommodate social distancing needs.”

City of Erlanger first responders with Airheads and Mentos candy donated by Perfetti Van Melle North America.

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