Amalgamated Sugar celebrates 75th anniversary

The sugar beet factory has been a staple in the community for three-quarters of a century.

NAMPA - Some things in the Treasure Valley are a constant. The foothills, the Boise River, and for the better part of the last century, the sugar beet factory in Nampa.

A lot of you have smelled the factory as you drive by on the freeway -- but have you ever gotten a look inside? KTVB took a tour as the factory celebrates its 75th anniversary in Nampa and its strong connection to the community.

The towering smoke stacks at the Amalgamated Sugar Factory in Nampa are one of the most recognizable sights in the valley.

But many would say there is something even more recognizable about the sugar factory -- the smell of production.

"It's a sweet, pungent odor, but some of us like it," said production manager Tim Vandeventer.

Not everyone agrees, but Tim says he has gotten used to it.

"I started actually as a sweeper," he said. "I just finished my 39th campaign this will be my 40th campaign coming up this fall."

For Tim, that recognizable smell is also special.

"My dad worked here for 40 years, it just smells like my dad," laughed Tim.

Whether you like the smell or not, the sugar made between these walls have been a part of this community for a long time.

The factory began operating in 1942, and quickly provided hundreds of jobs for people across the Treasure Valley.  Fast forward exactly 75 years to the day, and that's still the case. Today about 500 employees are celebrating the big anniversary.

"It's always been here, everyone knows where it is," said Tim.

For a lot of families in the valley, this factory is just a part of the family.

"It's kind of a family tradition, you talk about the smell, my wife doesn't mind it at all it reminds her of her dad too," said Tim.

Of course, the smell isn't the only part of the tradition, for 75 years hard working men and women have put out a lot of sugar.

Along with factories in Twin Falls and Paul, Idaho; Amalgamated Sugar produces up to 1.6 billion pounds of sugar a year.

This year, production in Nampa broke their all-time record.

"This year we are processing sugar for 360 days, this is the longest sugar processing run we've had," said Tim.

These days the factory puts out about 2 million pounds of sugar per day for more than 20 different labels.

You'll find the sugar made here in stores throughout the region.

But Tim says there is something even more than the sugar and smell that come from this factory, and that's hard hard-working Idahoans.

"Almost everyone you meet in town you tell 'em where you work at the sugar factory and they say, 'oh I know so and so worked there, or my dad worked there,' or something like that, real strong connection to the community."

© 2017 KTVB-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment