BRAND NAME COOKING WITH LOFT CANDY
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The following is an excerpt from the book Ideas that
Became Big Business by Clinton Woods. Published by Founders,
Inc. Baltimore, MD, 1959, 414 pages.
Buy this book:
Became Big Business
The Loft Candy Story
A man and his wife started making
home-made candies in their kitchen. Customers increased
until today the business has expanded into one of the
foremost in the confectionery field.
"Back in 1860, a man already past his first youth, opened a
candy store in lower New York City. William Loft had been
born and brought up in London and came to this country in
the early '50's. For a time he and his wife had made candy
in the kitchen of their home but as their sales increased
they decided to open a retail shop. The one on Canal Street
was the beginning of what has become one of the largest
candy chains in the world.
The business prospered and, as they came of age, the sons of
the founder became part of it. George W. Loft, the more
enterprising of the two boys, represented his father in
traveling abroad both as a salesman for the candies and a
buyer of the finest raw materials, chocolates, nuts, etc.
During the panic of the '90's all this came to an end when
the company encountered serious financial difficulties.
George W. Loft took over the running of the business and by
the turn of the century had "righted the ship" and "added to
the fleet" by the opening of two other shops, making three
in all. He was responsible for the tremendous growth of the
company. His policy was one of making fine quality
candy...and selling at the lowest possible price.
As the number of stores increased, the necessity for a
larger plant became evident. In the late '90's it had been
necessary to move the candy kitchen to a larger plant on
Barclay Street and from there to an even more spacious one
on Broome Street. (This building is now New York City's
In 1919 the company made another move to its present
location in Long Island City, at that time considered the
suburbs. This plant is the largest of its kind in the world.
George W. Loft at this time was involved in many
activities--banking, real estate, politics. He was a
Congressman from New York City--and, as a hobby--in horse
racing. He was the owner of several thoroughbreds of which
"Papp" was the best known. He incorporated the company in
1916 and remained its operating head until 1929 when he
retired. The chain then numbered 57 stores located in
Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Connecticut, Newark and
Philadelphia and was noted, in addition to candy, for its
restaurant and soda fountain operations with their fine
coffee and delicious ice cream.
After his withdrawal from the company, it fell into a period
of difficulties due to frequent changes of management and
the litigation which arose from the contested ownership of
the formula for Pepsi-Cola.
After this matter was settled, the corporation known as Loft
Inc. was split in 1939 into the Pepsi-Cola Company and Loft
Candy Corporation, both then publicly owned and completely
separate companies. Having just passed through the severe
depression of the Thirties the job of revamping this
potentially fine business fell to the lot, as president, of
Maurice L. Wurzel, a well known business man from
Philadelphia, under the chairmanship of Albert M.
Greenfield, an outstanding financier of the same city. Their
ability to see the essentials of a problem enabled them to
revitalize the company and by the end of their first year
had succeeded in putting it in the black and on a dividend
It was apparent to the management that the combination soda
fountain and candy shop as epitomized by the Loft's store of
the 1920's and '30's was becoming obsolete. People preferred
to buy their candy in quite pleasant surroundings
undisturbed by the clatter of dishes and odor of cooking.
Thus, Loft's set about gradually converting 200 soda
fountains and candy units into friendly, warm, pretty candy
shops. Today, every one of the Loft's shops devotes itself
to merchandising candy in the most ideal surroundings.
In December, 1948, shortly before the death of Mr. Wurzel,
Loft's pioneered in opening the New York City subways to
retail business. Many other companies followed its lead and
in the subway stations or arcades one can now find, in
addition to Loft's Candy Shops, bake shops, costume jewelry
stores, book stores, florists and restaurants. At present
there are 16 Loft's subway shops in important locations, two
in Hudson and Manhattan stations and one in a Long Island
Maurice L. Wurzel was succeeded by George R. Frederick who
had been brought into the company in 1942 because of his
merchandising experience over a period of years with other
candy manufacturer-retailers. He directed a new packaging
program which was necessary to give the boxes more eye
appeal and, with Mr. Wurzel, worked with architects to
produce an outstanding store design. He was the one who saw
the advantages of the highway shop and during his term of
office, Loft's opened two of these. One is in the center
island of U.S. Highway 22 at Union, New Jersey, known as the
Candy Garden, a beautiful modern shop set in the middle of
an attractively landscaped area. The tired traveler could
rest on the patio or in the garden before resuming his trip.
The success of the Candy Garden inspired the opening of the
Countryside Candies Shop on Highways 5 and 15 at Berlin,
Connecticut. This shop has the appearance of a Colonial Salt
Box home and since it has a miniature candy kitchen, it
attracts thousands of travelers yearly.
In 1956, Loft's adopted a radical experiment in
merchandising. It installed the first of the "automatic
windows" in this country, a vending device incorporated into
the store window itself. This has proved to be very
successful in heavily trafficked areas since it attracts the
customer who wants a small quantity of candy quickly.
Mr. Frederick retired from the presidency in 1957 and was
succeeded by Leonard Wurzel, the son of Maurice L. Wurzel.
Since then the company has opened 50 additional units
bringing to 300 the number of owned or controlled retail
outlets in 11 states of the East and Mid-West and the
District of Columbia. Loft's is also represented in the
candy departments of 21 carefully selected department stores
in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Further expansion
of outlets is planned.
Loft's makes more than 350 different candies, many of which
are included in the various assortments of miniatures and
home style packages as well as the special holiday items for
which Loft's is famous. Its shops carry everything from a
candy bar to the most deluxe of gift boxes and baskets. It
is especially well known as the one and only maker of the
Parlay bar, which received its interesting name from the
racing terminology for a "triple winner".
Loft's sales volume for 1958 was $17,553,622; it has 2100
employees and over 5000 stockholders."