HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN) — Governor Tom Wolf announced Friday that the local manufacturer, Joy Cone, will be expanding its cookie operations in Hermitage to meet increasing market demand for cookie and wafer products.

“The food manufacturing industry is thriving in Pennsylvania,” said Gov. Wolf. “The commonwealth’s partnership with Joy Cone will help them meet consumer demand, create jobs in Mercer County, and produce sweets and treats to be enjoyed worldwide.”

Joy Cone plans on investing in a new, high-output wafer line as part of the expansion.

The company received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development for the project, including a $450,000 Pennsylvania First grant.

Joy Cone had pledged to invest more than $10 million in the project, creating and retaining at least 400 full-time jobs over the next three years.

“Given the growing demand for our product, we knew we needed to purchase this new equipment quickly, and this grant is a tremendous help as we manage this significant capital cost,” said David George, the President and CEO of Joy Cone Co. “We are excited for this new phase as we continue to grow our operations in Western Pennsylvania.”

The Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to Governor Wolf, coordinated the expansion project.

“Celebrating over 100 years in our community, Joy Cone has made their family business part of the lives and livelihoods of so many hard-working local families. This partnership helps keep family-sustaining jobs in our community, but also expands job opportunities. Joy Cone is not only a strong contributor to the economic fabric of our community; their philanthropy has included local families in need and reached far beyond to include support for victims impacted by Hurricane Harvey, revealing the authentically big hearts of Pennsylvanians.”

Sen. Michele Brooks

“Joy Cone Company has been a source of good jobs and local pride for our community for over 100 years. The commonwealth’s investment will help Joy Cone to further expand its product line and retain and create jobs for our local workforce,” said Rep. Mark Longietti.

Pennsylvania is known as the “Snack Food Capital of the World” with major producers of pretzels, potato chips, candies and chocolates. The industry generates nearly $5.1 billion in sales annually, according to Gov. Wolf’s office.

Joy Cone has been in Mercer County since 1964 and is home to the company’s headquarters and two production facilities. The company also makes ice cream cones and cone bowls.