ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Pearson’s Candy has been a staple in St. Paul for a long time, but now it’s got a new look, a new candy and some new jobs.
On Wednesday, Pearson’s started rolling Bit-O-Honeys off the production line. Bit-O-Honey has been around since 1924, but until now was made in Illinois.
Pearson’s bought the brand from Nestle last spring, but just started making the first batches this week.
“A year or so ago we said we were looking to find acquisitions to grow Pearson’s Candy,” said Pearson’s CEO Michael Keller. “And we found the Bit-O-Honey brand.”
The expansion means that 40 new workers will be hired within the next couple of years, and to mark the occasion, the company invited some special guests to check it all out.
Ninety-four-year-old Elsie Syverson of Minnetonka has been a fan of the candy since she was a child. She was invited to lead the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and hand out the first batches.
“It’s very tasty, and it has good flavor,” she said. “And it’s wrapped in paper, that’s important.”
Pearson’s Candy goes back to 1912 when the company started making the iconic Nut Goodie and, later, the Salted Nut Roll.
The grandchildren of the company’s founder worked at the plant as teenagers.
“My grandfather, of course, passed away quite some time ago, but my dad who ran this place and built this building that we are in he’d be excited,” said Jeff Pearson, the grandson of P. Edward Pearson, the company’s founder.
The Pearsons say they’re thrilled more jobs have been created here.
“This is a good change,” said Steve Pearson, another of the founder’s grandsons. “I’m very happy about it.”
Pearson’s sent Syverson home with her very own box of Bit-O-Honey candies.