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Lots of Wisconsin families have wonderful memories of visiting the Jelly Belly "factory." (PHOTO: jellybelly.com)

Jelly Belly "factory" closing so what's the fate of the Pres. Reagan portrait?

The Jelly Belly Pleasant Prairie location is closing its doors after 19 years in business. The company will have a liquidation sale beginning Monday, Aug. 3 at the warehouse, 10100 Jelly Belly Lane.

Thousands of families flocked to the warehouse annually for its celebrated tour which took place while riding the "Jelly Bean Express" through the warehouse and ended at the store where guests could buy the tiny, strong-tasting beans ranging in flavors from buttered popcorn to green apple to chocolate pudding.

One of the quirky highlights of visiting was the Jelly Belly "art gallery," which featured an enormous portrait of the late President Ronald Reagan made from more than 10,000 Jelly Bellies. After quitting cigarette smoking, Reagan turned to the candy as a substitute to curb cravings and before long had them shipped to his Sacramento governor's office and later to the White House.

So what will become of the edible masterpiece?

Curious, I gave corporate a call this afternoon, hoping the unusual and magnificent artwork would be auctioned or donated to another gallery. But alas, no such luck – it looks like The Jelly Belly mosaic portrait of "The Gipper" is gone from Wisconsin for good.

"We will return it to our Fairfield, Calif. facility which will remain open," says John Jamison, Vice President of Retail Operations.

The Pleasant Prairie location closed due to the pandemic and the reality that it would not be able to provide tours – which generate sales – for a very long time.

"We are so sorry to see it go," says Michelle Williamson, the executive director for the Pleasant Prairie Convention Center. "The whole experience was so welcoming, so friendly and so informative about the history of the company. It was about so much more than just buying candy."

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