All these years I have heard that Carleton Place turned down the Hershey Chocolate factory, and as I was doing research for the Dunlop story I found what really happened in an article in the 1961 Ottawa Citizen. So let’s correct this story once and for all. Carleton Place at one point in 1961 had no idea how they lost out the $7,000,000 chocolate plant to Smiths Falls until the Carleton Place Industrial Commission went looking for answers.
It seems that the main reason was the proximity of Carleton Place to Ottawa and the competition for milk was the reason Carleton Place’s bid to the chocolate maker was turned down. Milt Phillips and councilor Wally Cook paid a visit to the industrial company Santus in Chicago to determine some of the reasons why Carleton Place was not chosen as the plant site.
The two Carleton Place businessmen were told there were really no major differences between the two communities, and therefore the business of location became a series of plus and minuses for each locality. Milk competition was the unexpected major factor. Another reason was cheaper business expenses, because railways in Smiths Falls would lend themselves to better distribution. Hershey’s decision to build in Smiths Falls was not really final at that point in time because Hershey’s found the local financial climate unsettling as a result of the Finance Minister’s budget. Location in Smiths Falls would earn them a savings of approximately $5,500 each year for power expenses over Carleton Place.
Although Carleton Place assured Hershey that the town’s inadequate water system could be remedied, the company found it more advantageous to locate to a better water supply at Smiths Falls where they could also get rid of excess water more easily. A survey of both towns indicated there was no difference in labor costs, and both towns were civic minded. Even though Carleton Place did not win the bid, both Mr. Phillips and Councillor Cook said that the chocolate giant had been impressed by the Ottawa Valley. They were both certain that all the surrounding towns would certainly benefit from the industry’s location in Smiths Falls.