As someone who grew up running to the local See’s Candies excitedly anticipating samples of my absolute favorite chocolates, I couldn’t be more excited to hear that See’s is celebrating its 100-year anniversary with the launch of “What’s Your Sweet Idea?” – a first-ever contest asking fans what they think See’s next candy piece should be.
Now through January 20th, fans can submit their ultimate candy creation online. See’s team of R&D experts will sort through submissions and pick the top candies for final voting which will be held from February 15 through March 1.
“We couldn’t think of a better way to kick off our Centennial year than by involving See’s great customers. They are the reason we are in business 100 years later, and we are excited to hear their ideas,” said Pat Egan, President & CEO, See’s Candies. “We will create the chosen candy by fans as our November piece, which is also the same month that Mary and Charles opened for business in 1921.”
For those who haven’t tasted the deliciousness of See’s, here’s some background info. See’s started back in 1921 when Mary See and her son Charles, moved to Los Angeles. Charles had dreams of opening a chain of chocolate shops using his mother’s recipes and when they finally opened up their first shop at 135 Western Avenue North, it was an instant hit.
Her original recipes are still being used today and include the classics Peanut Brittle, Chocolate Walnut Fudge, Victoria Toffee, Hand-Dipped Bon Bons, and Maple Walnut Creams.
See’s quickly became known for its welcoming customer experience and continued to innovate as it grew in popularity. See’s began delivering candy by mail in 1922, long before e-commerce was a thing, and in 1928 See’s offered the first motorcycle delivery service in Los Angeles.
By 1958, the candy company made history as the first confectionary business to receive melted chocolate at their factories via tanker truck, a method still used today. One hundred years later and there are over 240+ iconic shops domestically and internationally.
We chatted with Pat Egan, President & CEO, See’s Candies on its Centennial Anniversary, celebrations, success and what’s in store for the company. Here’s what he had to say.
See’s is celebrating 100 years this year! What are some of the top things you attribute this success to?
There are two things that we attribute See’s 100 years of success to: our team makes the best candy on planet. And we have dedicated customers. Since 1921, our motto has been Quality Without Compromise. All of our candies are made with the finest and best ingredients with no preservatives added. And of course we wouldn’t be here 100 years later if it weren’t for our customers.
They are the reason are so focused on making the highest quality candy, continue to innovate, and expand to new locations. We love being part of their traditions and seeing multi-generational families come into shops together. I’m always so thrilled to see the customer reaction to our product and the experience of shopping with See’s.
Is it tough remaining relevant in the chocolate industry for the past 100 years?
For See’s that isn’t really a tough question. Chocolate is always relevant, and excellent chocolate will always be in demand. I’m fortunate to be able to work with a fantastic team that is committed to both the best candy and the best service possible. See’s sets ourselves apart from the competition in two ways: first, we make the best candy you can find, much of it by hand. We don’t add preservatives, so our product is fresh like bread, and you can pronounce what is on the ingredients statement. Our product is made from ingredients you would use making candy from scratch, and we don’t include ingredients to extend the life of our product, so it always tastes great.
What separates See’s from its competition?
Our connection with our customer is unmatched in candy and among the best in retail. We have store associates in almost every one of our stores that have worked for us for decades. They do it because they get joy out of serving the customer—and that joy comes back from the customer. We connect with our customers, and I don’t think any other retail candy shop of our size can make that statement.
What are some new innovations in the works?
During See’s Candies Centennial year monthly new candies and collectible items will be launched. Each month See’s is launching a new Limited-Time Sweet available in Shops and online. Each piece will be made for that particular month, and the brand will see what the response is to determine if they add to their year-round offerings. To kick off the Centennial, the Dark Butterscotch Square launched on December 30. It’s a classic favorite coated in milk chocolate made with firm brown sugar, vanilla and heavy cream. Available for a limited time only, it is now generously coated in rich dark chocolatey goodness.
I’m also very proud that we rolled out our Click, Pick & Go service this year. Customers can order online and come to a store to pick up their order. We were considering this anyway, but having an option for contactless service made 2020 the perfect year to roll that out.