Arthur Spangler earned $450 from his paper route. He did not buy an Ipod with it, or spend it on an Xbox live subscription – not because those things weren’t available in 1916, but because he bought a factory instead. He bought a little factory in a small town that made baking powder.
Too mundane for your kids? Soon, he added sugar. Before long, Arthur was making candy. Today, his company makes all of the Dum Dum Lollipops in the world, along with all of the candy canes in the United States.
Ten million Dum Dums each and every day. That comes down to 10,000 Dum Dums a minute. Not to mention the three million candy canes, a half million Safety Pops, and 32 thousand pounds of the banana flavored Circus Peanuts each day. Newspaper money.
All from one place, a small town.
The kids were drawn to the sugar. I was intrigued with the focus and perseverance it takes to make a single product for generations, without caving to the pressures of foreign labor, and the temptation to throw out the baby with the bathwater. So, we headed to the Spangler Candy company for a private field trip to discover how it all came together and watch how the sugar is mixed, the candy is pulled and stretched and shaped into balls, sticked and wrapped and shipped all over the world. To see our photos, of how the candy canes are still made by hand — it’s an art form — read more here.