Friday, November 14, 2008


Visiting JustBorn is really like going into Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory. After seeing all those cool things in the lobby, I couldn't wait to get inside! And since they don't give tours, I was so lucky that Cindy Glick, Director of Corporate Affairs took several hours out of her busy day to show me around. My friendship with Karen was definitely the golden ticket!

All the meeting rooms are named after a JustBorn product - Tamale Hall, Peep Room, etc. etc, And as we rode up in the elevator to Cindy's office, Karen pointed out that the Lucite hand rails in the elevator were filled with Mike and Ikes. What a beautiful thing! I was pretty much jumping up and down with glee at this point.

Cindy (who is the friendliest and most patient person in the world, by the way) answered all my crazy questions and showed us things we missed. I swear she got as excited as I did! She was terrific. First we had to get hair covers, earphones, and white coats to wear on the factory floor. This is me afterward, my pockets filled with JustBorn candy and on a wild sugar high:

Before the tour began, Cindy filled us in on the history of the company. It's family owned (which I think is very cool) and has been around since 1923.

In 1910 Sam Born emigrated into the US from Russia. He was a candy maker by trade and used innovative technology to produce chocolate sprinkles - AKA Jimmies. The worker who made them was named Jimmie. In 1916 Sam invented a machine to insert sticks into lollipops.

Before starting his manufacturing company, Sam Born ran a small retail shop and had fresh candy in the window with a sign that said "just born". That's where the company name came from. That's great! I always thought the name came from the Peeps - they being "just born" chickens. Um - no.

As most candy companies have done, this one thrived by acquisition. In 1935 JustBorn acquired Maillard Corporation, then in 1953 the Rodda Candy Company. This company was known for jelly beans but made a small line of marshmallow products. One was a three-dimensional Easter chick that was made by HAND-squeezing marshmallow through pastry tubes. Let me say that is so hard to imagine when you see the way these babies fly off the line today! 4.2 million are made EACH DAY!

In 1953, it took 27 HOURS to make one Peep. Today, thanks to advances in technology it takes six minutes. (Don't tell the UAW.)

In 2003 Just Born acquired the Goldenberg Candy Company, makers of Peanut Chews. Yum.

Cindy is great - showing us some of the old advertising pieces, actual tubes they used to squeeze the marshmallow out of - it was really fascinating. Seriously - it really was. The company also has some terrific employee programs (health and wellness, recognition and reward) and does a lot in the community. I'd say JustBorn looks like a fantastic company. Get your lab coats on, we're going in!!!!!!!!!

1 comment:

Heidi said...

How FUN!
And lol! You do look like a very happy 9-year-old kid who has just been to the candy "canteen" at the summer camp! That grin on your face is priceless. Oh m'gosh, that picture is so great.
I enjoyed learning about the 27-hour marshmellow squeeze. Good golly -- you would've thought they'd had to charge a small fortune for those things back in the day, given the work involved.
Can't wait to read more ...