See's Candies

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See's Candies
Type Subsidiary
Industry Candy
Founded 1921
Headquarters South San Francisco, CA
Key people Founder: Charles See
CEO: Brad Kinstler
Products Chocolate, candy, brittle
Employees 2000+
Parent Berkshire Hathaway
Website www.sees.com
See's Candies headquarters on El Camino Real, South San Francisco

See's Candies is a manufacturer and distributor of candy, particularly chocolates in the United States. It was founded by Charles See, his wife Florence, and his mother Mary in Los Angeles, California, in 1921. The company is now headquartered in South San Francisco, California.[1] See's kitchens are at its headquarters and at a second location in Los Angeles, where there are also retail shops. It also has an office in Carson, California.[2]

The company largely markets its products in its own stores, those of fellow Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Nebraska Furniture Mart, and via mail order catalog. See's candies are also available in some airports in the United States. See's Candies operates over 200 stores in the following U.S. states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington.[3] There are also stores outside the U.S. in Hong Kong, Japan, and Macau.[4] Seasonally — primarily during the year-end holiday shopping season — See's also offers its product in select markets in kiosks at malls and other shopping centers. See's also has an online store.[5]

The company was purchased by Warren Buffett (via Blue Chip Stamps) for his Berkshire Hathaway Corporation in 1972. At a 1996 luncheon in San Francisco, Charlie Munger revealed that See's was the first high quality business that Berkshire ever bought. Previous to that point, Berkshire had focused on undervalued assets that could be bought cheap. The See's acquisition influenced their commitment to buying businesses with a strong reputation and brand recognition.[6]

A See's Candies store in Sunnyvale, California.

History[edit]

According to the corporate website, Charles Alexander See II (1882–1949) arrived in the United States from Canada in 1921[7] with his wife Florence MacLean Wilson See (1885–1956), and his widowed mother Mary Wiseman See (1854–1939). Mary See had developed the recipes that became the foundation of the See's candy business while helping run her husband's hotel on Tremont Island in Ontario.[8] The family opened the first See's Candies shop and kitchen at 135 North Western Avenue in Los Angeles in November 1921. They leased the shop from the French Canadian pioneer of Los Angeles, Amable Lamer.[9] They had twelve shops by the mid-1920s and thirty shops during the Great Depression. In 1936 See's opened a shop in San Francisco. See's first white "all porcelain" store was opened in Bakersfield, California on May 1, 1941. In 1972 the See family sold the company to Berkshire Hathaway Inc..

Warren Buffett has called See's "the prototype of a dream business." (2007)[10]

On June 20, 2012, See's Candies made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the world's largest lollipop, weighing 7,003 pounds (3,177 kg) and a length of 4 feet (1.2 m) and 8.75 inches (22.2 cm). The previous largest lollipop record stood at a hefty 6,514 pounds (2,955 kg). This giant chocolate lollipop represented 145,000 standard-size See's lollipops.[11]

See family[edit]

Charles Alexander See II was born in Canada and came to California in 1921. He came with his wife, Florence, with whom he had three children: Laurance Alexander See (1912-1969),[12] Margaret M. See (1913-1961), Charles B. "Harry" See (1921-1999), who was born after they arrived in the U.S.[13] They lived in Pasadena, California and Charles A. See II worked as a druggist.[14] Matriarch Mary See eventually moved back to Ontario, Canada, where she was born; she died in 1939.[8]

Laurance A. See's 1962 divorce from his wife Elizabeth led to a landmark community property ruling by the California Supreme Court.[15]

References[edit]

Shop in Hong Kong

4. Bakersfield Californian, April 10, 1941, Page 12, "first all-porcelain store"

  1. ^ "About Us." See's Candies. Retrieved on January 18, 2009.
  2. ^ "Contact Us." See's Candies. Retrieved on January 18, 2009.
  3. ^ See's U.S. Shop locations See's Candies. Retrieved on August 11, 2009.
  4. ^ See's International Shop locations See's Candies. Retrieved on November 4, 2009.
  5. ^ http://www.sees.com/index.cfm/about_us
  6. ^ Calvey, Mark. "Chuck Huggins, former See's Candies CEO, dies at 87". San Francisco Business Journal. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  7. ^ See's Candies website
  8. ^ a b Mary Wiseman See, Find A Grave.
  9. ^ http://boards.ancestry.com/surnames.lamer/1.2.3.4.6.8/mb.ashx
  10. ^ Peter Bevelin (2012). A Few Lessons for Investors and Managers from Warren E. Buffett. PCA Publishing and Intermountain Books.
  11. ^ "See's Candies creates world's largest lollipop". Guinness World Records. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  12. ^ Laurance Alexander See, Find A Grave.
  13. ^ United States Census, 1930; Los Angeles, California
  14. ^ United States Census, 1920; Pasadena, California
  15. ^ See v. See, 64 Cal. 2d 778 (1966).

External links[edit]