Russell Stover Candies
|Headquarters||Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.|
|Subsidiaries||Whitman's, Pangburn's Chocolates, and Weight Watchers (Private Label))|
Ice cream years
The Russell Stover Candy Company did not start with candy. In 1921, Russell Stover and his partner, Iowa schoolteacher Christian Nelson, invented the world's first chocolate-dipped ice cream bar. At a dinner party Russell's wife Clara suggested calling it an Eskimo Pie. The product was a success for them, making them quite a fortune in their first year.
However, as other companies soon began to release similar chocolate-dipped ice cream products, Russell Stover were nearly forced out of business. The Stovers sold their share of the company for $25,000 and moved to Denver, Colorado. In 1923, Russell and Clara created the new eponymous company from their home, packaging and selling boxed chocolates. They were originally named "Mrs. Stover's Bungalow Candies", however, 20 years later, in 1943, it was renamed Russell Stover Candies.
The company remained in the Stover family until 1969 when it was purchased by Louis Ward who transformed the Midwest regional brand into a world-wide brand. It is still owned by the Ward family.
Russell Stover Candies is the nation’s leading manufacturer of boxed chocolates and the third largest American chocolate manufacturer, trailing only Hershey and Mars. The company’s three brands – Russell Stover, Whitman's and Pangburn's – account for more than 60 percent of all boxed chocolate sales in the United States. Russell Stover candies are sold in nearly 40 company-owned retail stores and through 70,000 wholesale accounts in more than 20 countries, including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The company manufactures nearly 100 million pounds of chocolate annually, and is the only major U.S.-based confectionery company that has avoided serious controversy over the use of child slave labor, pesticides, and genetically-modified ingredients. As a result, Russell Stover has a neutral rating from the Shop Ethical Consumer Guide.
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