A Trip To Lollipop Land

Our Ohio Road Trip this week is to Bryan, Ohio, called “The Fountain City”, because they once had so many artesian wells that bubbled out of the earth.  In fact today the city water is provided from seven artesian wells and residents brag about the taste of their city water.,

Perhaps this pure water supply was one of the reasons that brought the Spangler Candy Company to Bryan.  While you may not be familiar with Spangler, one of their products, Dum-Dum Lollipops, is known the world over.

Lollipops are big business; the Spangler Bryan plant is huge.  They make 2.3 billion Dum Dum Lollipops, that’s billion with a “b”, each year. There are sixteen flavors and new ones are constantly being developed in their laboratory kitchen here at the factory.  Some of those that didn’t make the cut were bacon and pepperoni.  They encourage visitors to their company museum/store to sample and give their opinion about some of the new flavors.

Spanglers 500-thousand square feet of buildings cover several city-blocks and with over 425 employees it is one of the largest employers in the community.  They not only make lollipops, but also some other icons of the candy world like circus peanuts, those little orange marshmallow creations that look like peanuts still in the shell, and Saf-T-Pop, another lollipop with a handle in the shape of a loop for tiny hands, and  they are also America’s largest producer of candy canes.

It’s the kind of place where workers seem to pass their job down from one generation to the next.  From company CEO, Dean Spangler, who is the third generation to run this family-owned business to Mattea St. John, whose great-grandmother once worked on the candy line at the factory, just as Mattea did when she was in college.  Today Mattea is the E-Commerce Manager for Spangler.

Spangler Candy is also one of the few factories in Ohio that still give tours.  They have two miniature Dum Dum Trolleys that run every half-hour during the day taking visitors  to the factory on a ride through parts of the plant, packing room and warehouse where tons of lollipops are stacked waiting to be shipped all over the world

★ You can read the rest of this story in the Saturday, July 28, 2012 edition of the Plain Dealer or on their website at www.cleveland.com

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