Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

The Jelly Belly Candy Company‘s Chairman of the Board Herman Goelitz Rowland, Sr., and his daughter/Executive Vice Chairman Lisa Rowland Brasher open up to Candy.com about working in a multigeneration family business that goes back to 1869, their business challenges, and favorite beans.

Herman Goelitz Rowland and Lisa Rowland Jelly Belly

Lisa Rowland Brasher and Herman Goelitz Rowland, Sr.

Candy.com: Herm, when your children and grandchildren were young, did you ever think they’d be working at the Jelly Belly Candy Company?

HGR: It wasn’t mandatory for any of my family to join the business, but it’s been great there is interest. We have 10 of us now working in the business. I just want them to be happy in what they do.

Candy.com: Lisa, as executive vice chairman, you’re apprenticing to prepare for leading the company into the next generation of candy making. How do you feel about that next big step?

LRB: It is quite an honor for me to be in this position. Succession planning is very important to every company and we are a family business that currently employs family members from the 4th, 5th, and 6th generation of our candy-making family. Is that cool or what?! We all work in many different areas of the business and that gives us a good finger on the pulse of the company. I am also surrounded by an awesome team of Jelly Belly employees who are very capable and respected in their areas of expertise, which makes my job that much easier.

Herman Goelitz Rowland, Lisa Rowland Brasher, Trevor Brasher Jelly Belly

Three generations of Jelly Belly candy makers: Herm, his daughter Lisa, and Lisa's son Trevor.

Candy.com: What’s it like to not only work with your closest family members, but also ultimately oversee their work?

LRB: Fortunately, we all get along really well. I am sure that there will be times of difficulty, just as there are in any work relationships, but we all seem to communicate well with each other. The expectation for every generation of family members has been that we exceed expectations as an employee. I know my kids feel that I am harder on them than I am on others. That is probably true, but, as I learned as a youngster, many eyes are on us and what we do. We need to set a good example. I also think that being up front and honest with thoughts and feelings is invaluable. A small note hanging on my wall reminds me that the same letters are in the word “Silent” and the word “Listen.” Most of us in our family don’t have a problem speaking our mind, so I want to always keep that in the forefront of my mind. Be quiet, listen, and then talk!

Candy.com: Lisa, did you know early on that you wanted to be a part of the family candy business?

LRB: As youngsters, we did not visit the candy factory often. My dad worked long days that weren’t conducive to having two little girls running around the factory.  But later on, my sister and I occasionally went to the factory with my dad on a weekend or a holiday—and I was totally sold! The smells (yum) of the powdery mist of sugar floating in the air, the sweet smell of milk chocolate, the sight of trays stacked high with candy corn, mellocreme choppers, or chocolate pokies lured me in.

Candy.com: Herm, if you weren’t running the Jelly Belly Candy Company, what would you want to do?

HGR: Design new equipment, probably for the candy industry. Equipment is my first love. Or grow something on a farm and drive a tractor.

Candy.com: What’s your biggest business challenge at the moment?

LRB: I think that our biggest challenge at the moment is similar to the challenges that many companies face nationwide: How can we be the best that we can be with our employees, consumers, vendors, and retailers; continue to produce excellent quality confections and provide superior customer service while keeping our costs contained so that we can be competitive in the market in an economy that all costs are skyrocketing!

Jelly Belly Beans
Candy.com: What’s your most favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor … and least favorite?

HGR: Peach has always been at the top of my list. Can’t think of any I don’t like.

LRB: Currently my favorite flavors are #1 – Red Apple, #2 – Plum, and #3 – Juicy Pear. (Juicy Pear used to be my #1 flavor until Red Apple and Plum were released.) My fourth favorite flavor is Chili Mango. It’s funny because I really don’t like spicy tastes and I can live without mango, too, but I LOVE this flavor. Just the right amount of sweet and spicy. My least favorite bean flavor is cantaloupe. I am also not a fan of Licorice. Funny because it is our #3 flavor in the lineup!

Candy.com: Have you or any of your family members ever submitted a Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor that either got used or shot down?

LRB: Yes, in 1995 we came out with Red Licorice, which I love and had always wanted us to produce. The problem here was that there are two very distinct tastes for Red Licorice.  Unfortunately for me, our team made the taste that is not my favorite brand of red licorice and the rest of the country agreed. Due to less-than-stellar sales, it was discontinued shortly thereafter.

Jelly Belly Peas & Carrots MellocremesCandy.com: I heard that your new Peas & Carrots Mellocremes were a hit at this year’s Winter Fancy Food Show. Why do you think show-goers went nuts over the sweet side dish?

LRB: The retro look is a hot trend right now and our fun can of Peas and Carrots fits the bill perfectly.  They are realistic looking and cute too! Mellocreme flavors of Green Apple and Orange Sherbet put a fun twist on traditional yummy mellocreme candies. Eating your veggies never tasted so good!

Candy.com: Any other new products or Jelly Belly Jelly Bean flavors you’ll be launching at the Sweets & Snacks EXPO this May?
LRB: Jelly Belly is known worldwide for its product innovation and the exciting new confections coming out at the next Sweets & Snacks EXPO this May will not disappoint!  But, we have to keep some surprises for the show.

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Described as “the true blue Willy Wonka,” “eccentric,” an “oddball,” and a “savant,” David Klein, I recently found out, is all of these things, and more.

David Klein is the inventor of Jelly Belly jelly beans, and he’s got quite a story. Last week, I talked with David about his new documentary, Candyman: The David Klein Story, produced by his son and daughter-in-law. I’d been hoping to see this film, which chronicles David’s Jelly Belly journey, so I felt like I won a first prize when he offered to send me a copy.

So far, I’ve watched this feature-length film twice. It’s quirky and a little addicting. Ellia Kassoff, the owner of Astro Pops, LLC, says he’s watched it four times.

I am drawn to this film because David is a walking candy Wikipedia. If I were writing a historical piece on the industry, he’d be the first guy I’d call. Ask David a question about a candy brand and he’ll tell you when it was invented, the company that manufactured it, when the brand changed hands, and the people behind it all.

I am also drawn to this film because of David’s character. He is wacky (he writes all of his notes on paper plates) and would probably drive you nuts if he were your dad, but he’s got a heart of gold and an entrepreneurial spirit that trumps The Donald’s.

I’m no film critic, so I won’t go into details about the film (see the Candy Professor’s review), but I will share a few good takeaways I got from my call with the Candyman:

- From the beginning, David sold jelly beans as individual flavors. “If I only sold an assorted box, I’d only have one spot in the store. By forcing retailers to buy single flavors, I got much more shelf space.”

- David got the idea for intensely and realistically flavored jelly beans while watching “Happy Days.” He got the idea for the brand name, “Jelly Belly” while watching “Sanford and Son.”

- David’s all-time favorite candy is not jelly beans. It’s actually Junior Mints (and Queen Anne’s Caramellos, but they are extinct).

- David wishes the manufacturer of Junior Mints (Tootsie Roll Industries), would come out with a Junior Mint peppermint patty.

- David is working on a new line of jelly beans that he says will “revolutionize the jelly bean business.” If all goes to plan, the new beans will roll out before Easter 2011.

- The outlandish rhinestone cowboy outfit that David wore on “The Mike Douglas Show” set him back $4,760.

Candyman: The David Klein Story is now playing on The Documentary Channel, which is primarily available through satellite television services DISH Network (Channel 197) and DIRECTV (Channel 267).

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If you have ever eaten a chocolate that’s shaped and wrapped in foil to resemble a ladybug, football, sneaker, coin, pansy, turkey, Christmas present, miniature Santa, poker chip, or globe, it’s a good chance it came from the Madelaine Chocolate Company.

Since 1949 when brothers-in-law Henry Kaye and Jack Gold founded the chocolate company in a compact loft in New York City, it has specialized in foil-wrapped chocolates—particularly seasonal items like Easter eggs and miniature Santas.

Earlier this week, I had a chance to chat with Henry Kaye’s granddaughter, Estee Farber, who entered the family business seven years ago and is now the company’s marketing director.

For the record, it took no arm twisting for Estee to come to work in the family chocolate factory, which is now located in Rockaway Beach, NY. “I think I always knew I would like to work in the business,” she says. (Um, hello, Willy Wonka dream come true.)

Now here’s an interesting fact that I really should put in a sidebar, but I’m plunking it right here instead: The Madelaine Chocolate Company is named after Madeleine Carroll, a beautiful British actress who starred in a few Alfred Hitchcock movies. According to Estee, her grandfather had a crush on Miss Carroll back in the day. He and his brother-in-law also thought her first name had a nice ring to it, so they made it the company name with a slightly different spelling, Madelaine vs. Madeleine. (I wonder if the starlet ever knew she had a chocolate company named after her?)

At any rate, The Madelaine Chocolate Company got its start with tiny foiled chocolate eggs made with Peter’s Chocolate. Madelaine’s still uses Peter’s Chocolate, a brand now owned by Cargill, Incorporated.

The beautiful foils used to wrap the chocolates were originally found in Italy and still come from Italy. (Look directly below at photo of Madelaine’s assembly line workers back in the 1950s looking awfully lovingly at bunnies about to get “foiled.”)


According to Estee, the company’s most popular “everyday” items coming off the line today are celebratory chocolate cigars in gold, pink, and blue foils. (My husband, proud as a little peacock, gave these out when our two kids were born.) In the Christmas category, Estee says the foiled miniatures (Santas, presents, balls, and snowmen) are perennial favorites. The minis also happen to be the company’s best-selling items overall.

This Easter, the company is rolling out new Dueggs, which are egg-shaped, double-filled milk chocolate truffles. (One of the Dueggs truffle varieties is half filled with marshmallow, the other half caramel. Double yum!)

Double-filled Duegs Truffle

The Dueggs are a spin-off of Madelaine’s Duets double-filled truffles, which launched in March 2010 and won the NCSA’s best new product award.

Double-filled Duets Truffle

Estee says her family’s chocolate company is also working on expanding its seasonal line of Duets for Holiday 2012 with new flavor combinations and holiday-themed packaging. (Just in case Estee is reading this, I vote for a peppermint-milk truffle flavor combination.)

Below is a snapshot of some really cool items from the Madelaine Chocolate Company’s Holiday 2010 Collection: (Click on each image for more product information. Click here for all Madelaine products available at Candy.com.)

Christmas Tree Tower Keepsake

Penguin Giftable (really cute!)

Santa With Presents Gift Box

Miniature Santas Gift Bag (great hostess gift)

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Print Cates, director of franchise operations at California-based Powell’s Sweet Shoppe, is one lucky guy.

Print travels the world to scout out the latest and greatest candy for all 17 Powell’s Sweet Shoppe locations (plus a new store opening Nov. 17, 2010, in Berkeley, Calif., … but more on that below).

Print also works with each new Powell’s Sweet Shoppe owner to create a unique store theme through lighting, design, signage, display fixtures, and props. Each store is truly a work of art.

In between buying trips and getting ready for the Berkeley store launch, the mah-jorly fun and creative Print Cates took time out to chat with Candy.com about his enviable job, candy trends, the new store opening, and what’s next for Powell’s.

Candy.com: Heard you shared what it’s like to be a professional candy buyer at the 2010 Kid’s Candy Choice Awards sponsored by ECRM and Retail Confectioner magazine. What was the response from the small fries?

Print Cates: All ears were on deck when they learned how to be a candy buyer: the technique, and the end result—actually choosing the items. The kids had to choose items for other people to purchase in their “mock” stores and they quickly realized that they had to think about what candies other people liked, not just what they liked.


Candy.com
: So which candies won top honors at the 2010 Kid’s Candy Choice Awards?

Print Cates:
The first place award went to Farley’s and Sathers Candy Co, Inc. for its Trolli brand “Big Bold Bears” gummy candy. Coming in second was Schuster Products with its “Ginormous Silly Swirl” bubble gum, and Innovative Candy Concepts took third with “Too Tarts Smart Choice All Kidz Blend.”

Candy.com: I know Powell’s Sweet Shoppe has grand store openings. What do you have up your sleeve for the Nov. 17 soft opening and Nov. 20 official opening of the Berkeley, Calif., store?

Print Cates: On the soft opening date, five lucky children get to come in for a private shopping experience 31 minutes before the doors open. It will be very Wonka-esque. Then, when the doors open, our friends, family, and business associates get to come in and see the store. The grand opening is another story. We have a magician, clown, balloon maker, band, a Wonka character, a Moon Pie character, a Jelly Belly character, and so much more in store. Television, radio, and newspaper press will be there. It is going to be quite a show!

Inside Powell's Sweet Shoppe in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

At the Chico, Calif., store, customers select gum from the "Gum Card Catalogue."


Candy.com
: You travel the world to scout candy for Powell’s Sweet Shoppes. Any new products or trends that have stopped you in your tracks lately?

Print Cates:
Edible Gummy Bandz (like the rubber “Silly Bandz” that kids wear on their wrists) are extremely popular as well as Candy Blood from an IV bag. Disgusting and fun. Vampires have to eat too!

Candy.com: What’s the No. 1 selling candy item across all of your stores?

Print Cates:
Other than [the original] Wonka Bars (so very sad they are discontinued), our No. 1 candy item in our stores is ZOTZ.  ZOTZ is consistently in the top five throughout the year.

Candy.com: Does the list of top 10 candy brands vary much from store to store?

Print Cates: Not Really. Tried-and-true items are tried-and-true items. You might have a spike if a new item comes into the market, but the business always revolves around the basics. Just like the grocery store, we have our items that are like milk, bread, meat, vegetables, and eggs.


Candy.com:
Of the four major candy seasons (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter), which one brings in the most customers at Powell’s Sweet Shoppes?

Print Cates:
Actually, we have 5 seasons:) Our fifth is season is summer. Definitely, summer season brings in the most customers, but if I had to say the one specific “holiday” season that is our strongest, it’s Christmas. We are known for the place to be for stocking stuffers! Our main merchandising and look of the stores follow all of the five seasons.


Candy.com:
You are a retail merchandising crackerjack forever coming up with clever ways to showcase and sell candy in your stores. The last time we talked, you were freezing Queen Anne Cordial Cherries in gelato cases for summertime treats. Any out-there merchandising tactics you’ve come up with lately?

Print Cates: I am loving mannequins! They are so fun and can be dressed to match the season or theme that you are creating. There is so much you can do using the packaging that the manufacturers have created. Turning cardboard into “clothing” is just another level. And it’s  free!

Mannequin decked out in Sugar Daddy gear at the Powell's Sweet Shoppe in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Candy.com: Last time we talked, you mentioned a proprietary gelato that Powell’s created with the Annabelle Candy Company (makers of Abba-Zaba, Rocky Road, Big Hunk, U-No, and Look! bars). What’s the scoop?

Print Cates: We have liaised with Annabelle to create an Abba-Zaba and a Rocky Road gelato about 10 months ago and both flavors have been a great success. We are the only retailer with these co-branded items. Powell’s is always looking for opportunities to work with manufacturers to come up with unique items for our stores to carry.


Candy.com:
It’s great to see candy buffets popping up at most every event these days. Are any of your store owners offering candy buffet catering services?

Print Cates
: We have several stores that are having fun doing candy buffets. They are a unique, fun, interactive item to have at any celebration. The stores are currently doing these in test mode, which we are evaluating and then we’ll see how we can roll these out franchise-wide. By understanding the process, we can then make it easier for the franchisee and customer to have a wonderful experience.

Candy buffet table created by Powell's Sweet Shoppe in Long Beach, Calif.

Candy.com: Powell’s Sweet Shoppes are currently all on the West Coast. Any plans to expand domestically and/or internationally?

Print Cates: We are exploring all opportunities and during this process we are in a franchise holding pattern only opening the Berkeley store in the near future. All parties that are interested are put on a waiting list and then will be reviewed when we open sales again. The list is VERY long.

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