FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2011
St. Joseph, Mo. – April 2011 – This year, the Chase Candy Company is celebrating 135 years of making quality classic candies, including peanut clusters, coconut bon bons, peanut brittle and its signature candy, the Cherry Mash, which was originally produced in 1918. The hometown candy company is still located in St. Joseph, Mo. where it first opened its doors in 1876 under the watchful eye of doctor-turned-candy-maker George Washington Chase.
“Our company has a rich history in St. Joseph and we are proud to still be producing classic candy here after 135 years,” said Barry Yantis, president of Chase Candy Company. “Chase Candy has remained viable through the Great Depression, two World Wars and numerous dips in the economy. No matter what’s going on in the world, people still enjoy candy and we’ve seen this ring true through so many phases of our company’s history.”
Yantis added that during the recent economic downturn the company experienced record sales. “Although the cost of making candy went up recently with the rise in sugar, chocolate and many other ingredients we use, it was exciting to see that our customers continued to embrace our products.”
Chase Candy makes a variety of peanut, coconut and chocolate flavored candies:
• Cherry Mash
• Mini Mash
• Peanut Clusters
• Peanut Squares
• Peanut Brittle
• Peco Flake
• Coconut Haystacks
• Coconut Bon Bons
The company’s signature product is the Cherry Mash, the best selling cherry candy bar in the country. The Cherry Mash is the third oldest candy bar still being produced in the United States behind the Hershey Bar and the Goo Goo Cluster. Cherry Mash consists of a large mound of chopped roasted peanuts with chocolate coating over a smooth cherry fondant center.
“Cherry Mash is an old-fashioned candy favorite amongst its fans,” said Yantis. “We get numerous letters each week from people sharing their memories of buying Cherry Mash. It’s truly a nostalgic candy that brings back great memories for many people who’ve enjoyed the sweet treat over the years.”
The formula for the Cherry Mash hasn’t changed over the years, but the Chase Candy Company has made significant changes to keep up with evolving business needs. The business prospered and in the early 1920’s when Chase built a modern four-story factory in downtown St. Joseph. About this time the third generation of the Chase family, Charles, joined the company. By 1926, after 50 years in business, Chase had made more than 500 different kinds of candies, including an extensive line of candy bars such as Mallo Milk, Double Brunch, Black Walnut and Chasenut.
In 1944, F.S. Yantis and Company purchased Chase Candy Company for more than $1 million. F.S. Yantis was known at the time for owning and operating Pepsi Cola bottling operations in the Midwest. To continue its Pepsi bottling operations, F.S. Yantis purchased the candy company and used Chase’s sugar rations during the war to keep the soda business going. After World War II, the Pepsi bottling operations were sold for a generous profit and Chase Candy remained the cornerstone asset of the investment firm.
After the Yantis takeover, Chase began a series of acquisitions that made the company one of the giants in the confectionery industry in the 1950s and early 1960s. Companies such as Bunte and that National Candy Company, operated by actor Vincent Price’s family, were among the largest purchases made by Chase. The company operated factories in St. Joseph, Kansas City, St. Louis, San Jose and Chicago in its heyday.
Today, the company continues to operate in St. Joseph where it originally started making candy 135 years ago. The company functions out of a new, purpose-built candy factory that opened in 2005. The Yantis family continues to operate Chase Candy and has invested in a number of new technologies over the years to stay relevant with advances in production, as well as sales and marketing.
“Last year we invested in a new wrapping machine that allowed us to increase our productivity of Cherry Mash,” said Yantis. “We also invested in a new Web site that just launched. We believe the new site will help customers find Cherry Mash in locations throughout the country, as well as easily order any of our products via the internet.”
Chase Candy products have been sold out of horse drawn carts and now on the Internet. With more than 135 years of selling candy, the company has seen many changes however one thing has been constant – the focus on making a quality product.