Is this the end for America’s oldest continually operating candy company?
This year, it feels like we’ve heard more news about Necco than in the company’s 171-year history. Back in March, The Boston Globe reported that the Massachusetts-based candy brand, which has been in operation since 1847, was set to go under. This news created a groundswell of support from people who had fond memories of the company’s products like Necco Wafers, Sweethearts Conversation Hearts, and even things like Clark Bars, Mary Janes, and Squirrel Nut Zippers. To keep a long story short, a number of potential buyers came and went before the brand, its factory and its employees were eventually “saved” by Round Hill Investments LLC, which bought Necco at an emergency auction in May for $17.3 million.
Sadly though, that “saved” now belongs in quotation marks because, yesterday, The Boston Globe reported that the Necco plant had abruptly been shuttered. Though the specifics were minimal, the prospects sound grim. “There was a statement they read off about severance pay and ‘thank you for your service’ and where you can pick up all your personal belongings,” a Necco mechanic who asked to go only by Chris told the Globe. “We were told don’t show up tomorrow [Wednesday].”
Indeed, in an official statement, Round Hill Investments explained, “After careful engagement and consideration…the firm decided to sell the brands to another national confection manufacturer and today announced the closure of the operations in Revere, Massachusetts.” No additional details were provided about who the brand was sold to or what it meant for the factory.
More than just a nostalgic brand, Necco is also billed as America’s oldest continuously operating candy company—a title that would appear to be in jeopardy. Meanwhile, for the company’s 230 employees, though they were aware times were dire, they had apparently been told that things would be fine for at least several more months. “It was more shock than anything,” Chris added. “We heard we were supposed to be running until Nov. 30. And from then on we didn’t know what was going to happen.”
When news that Necco might go under first broke, sales of Necco Wafers reportedly spiked around 150 percent, according to CandyStore.com. As the risk of sounding pessimistic, if you wanted to grab some Wafers then, you may want to make sure you get your hands on some this time around.