By Joshua Burd
Campbell Soup Co. is planning a $50 million overhaul of its iconic headquarters in Camden as part of a move to consolidate its office-based employees from outside New Jersey.
The company said the project, which is slated to begin in March, will allow the property to accommodate more than 1,600 employees when the renovation is complete. That includes some 330 positions in its Snacks division that are currently based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Norwalk, Connecticut, which will close as part of a cost-saving plan announced this week.
The investment in Camden will take place over the next three years, Campbell said, as it looks to enhance the space to drive greater creativity, collaboration and career development.
“We are thrilled to invest in our people, our facilities and our Camden community, which Campbell has called home for more than 150 years,” Campbell CEO and President Mark Clouse said. “We remain committed to our two-division operating model and are confident that being together in one headquarters is the best way for us to continue building a culture that unlocks our full growth potential. This investment will ensure Campbell remains a great place to work and a compelling destination for top talent.”
According to a news release, the project includes upgrading existing space and constructing new buildings, including a new campus center and a Snacks R&D center and pilot plant. The company plans to enhance workspaces, meeting and multipurpose rooms and communal spaces to support a variety of work styles, while its team will have amenities such as on-site day care, a café, a health and fitness center and other services.
Campbell has called Camden home since 1869 and has been at its current location, just off Route 30 and a mile from its original manufacturing plant, since 1957. The renovation is its first investment in the campus since 2010, when it completed a major expansion and upgrade at a cost of some $132 million, while purchasing vacant buildings and parcels nearby to help spur the redevelopment of the city’s Gateway District.
“Campbell is an iconic New Jersey company, and I’m pleased with their commitment to invest and grow in our state,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “This plan will create jobs, stimulate economic development and strengthen Campbell’s roots in Camden where their efforts have played an essential role in the continued transformation of the city.”
The company has been evaluating plans to unify its Snacks headquarters following the acquisition of Snyder’s-Lance Inc. in 2018, the news release said. It determined that investing in Camden and unifying most of its office-based employees at one site provides the greatest benefits for the business and will provide the Snacks division with significantly improved facilities, resources and services than those that exist in Charlotte or Norwalk.
Team members in those cities will relocate to Camden in phases starting in mid-2023, the company said. For employees who choose not to relocate, Campbell will provide job placement support and severance benefits commensurate with level and years of service.
The building closings will not impact Campbell’s other operations in the two states, including the Pepperidge Farm bakery in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and manufacturing and distribution facilities in North Carolina.
“We have a long history in Connecticut and North Carolina and will continue to have key operations in both states,” Clouse said. “The decision to close these offices was difficult but it is the right thing to do for our business and culture. Unifying the company in one headquarters increases connectivity, collaboration and provides enhanced career opportunities for our team.”
The company expects to realize cost savings from consolidating the buildings beginning in fiscal year 2024 and reach $10 million in annual cost savings by fiscal year 2026, the news release said. The savings will be partially reinvested in the business and are included in the company’s plan to increase margins in the snacks division.