- Sky Bar — the chocolate candy with caramel, vanilla, peanut and fudge segments — is being manufactured again, according to the candy bar's website. A Sudbury, Massachusetts, gift shop owner is making the candy on a small scale after buying the name and formulas at an auction from the New England Confectionery Co. (Necco) that went bankrupt last year.
- Sky Bar Confectionary will hold a grand opening Dec. 7, The Boston Globe reported. Meanwhile, the candy bar is for sale at the gift shop in Sudbury for $1.98 each and online in boxes of 24 bars for $47.52.
- Candy shop owner Louise Mawhinney told The Globe she plans to acquire a wholesale license after the holidays and scale up operations. "I’ve got distributors in the Midwest waiting for it. The last thing I want is to disappoint people by not being able to make demands. There are more than 700 people [signed up for updates] on my e-mail list, and they are calling every day," she said.
Until last year, Sky Bar had been around for 80 years, giving the product plenty of time to build up a devoted fan base. Now, it will need to show whether it can compete in a candy world dominated by Hershey, Mars Wrigley and Ferrero, which not only own iconic brands but have the purchasing power and distribution network that Sky Bar's owner lacks.
Nostalgia can be a big driver of success for foods and beverages, whether it's for candy bars, Hostess Twinkies or indulgent cereals people remember from their childhood. When they open up a Sky Bar, a roll of Necco wafers or a box of Sweethearts Candies, it can tap into memories and positive experiences they may want to share with their children and grandchildren. Sky Bar's new owner may be hoping to capitalize on that feeling beyond just Massachusetts.
Necco's other well-known brands are also getting a new lease on life after the company's bankruptcy. Its iconic wafers, Sweethearts and Canada Mints were purchased by the Spangler Candy Company, the maker of Saf-T-Pops and Spangler Circus Peanuts, among other treats.
Spangler, which promised to bring back the popular Sweethearts candy by Valentine's Day, has prior experience reinvigorating brands. The company launched the first advertising campaign in 30 years to push its Dum Dums lollipops as a long-time favorite for consumers looking for encouragement in uncertain times. If Sky Bar's new owner wants the brand to go national, she also may need to work on marketing to consumers who may have never heard of it or forgotten about it.
Other companies are bringing back Necco staples, too. The Texas-based Atkinson Candy, which sells Chick-O-Stick, Slo Poke and Black Cow, plans to make Mary Jane candy available again early next year through a licensing agreement with Spangler.
The Pennsylvania-based Boyer Candy, which bought the rights to Necco's Clark Bar last September, said it will begin production this fall but has already introduced Clark Cups. CEO Anthony Forgione told the Pittsburgh Business Times the company's facility is built for cups, so it seemed like a natural progression.
Candy brands don't always stay the same once they get a new owner. Sky Bar's recipe was tweaked before the manufacturing process restarted, The Globe noted. Mawhinney and her staff, plus some volunteer tasters, went through different formulations and decided on one from the 1970s.
The new Sky Bar isn't the exact same candy it was before the Necco bankruptcy because of manufacturing and ingredient changes. But chances are good fans of the bar and its four separately flavored sections will be glad to have it back. The challenge for Sky Bar will be to expand beyond its core fans and attract other consumers who could help ensure it doesn't disappear again. With so many big-name candies on the market, that won't be easy.