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Clara Mae Lewis
|Died||1975 (aged 93)|
|Occupation||candy maker, company owner|
|Known for||Creating Russell Stover Candies, with husband and co-founder, Russell Stover|
Early life and marriage
Clara Mae Stover was born in Oxford, Iowa, in 1882. Clara Mae was raised on a farm, with her three sisters, who were required to do to manual labor since their parents had no sons. through the strong influence of her grandma, Clara Stover was a very independent woman, who took the initiative to be self-reliant and knowing how to get things done. Clara and Russell Stover met, as students in Iowa City, Iowa, at the Iowa City Academy. Over the years, they kept in touch and got married in 1911. The Stovers decided to buy a 580-acre, wheat and flax farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. Unfortunately, heavy rains destroyed their crops.
Introduction to candy industry
Russell Stover was hired by a candy company, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Years later, the Stovers decided to move back to the United States, where Russell worked for confectioners, in Des Moines, Iowa and Chicago, Illinois, during the 1910s. Throughout the process, Russell Stover became very familiar with the candy-making process. Everything, from the production to the sale, of chocolates. This began Clara and Russell's dream of a chocolate empire, that still thrives today. Clara Russell would actually dip the chocolates, herself, in their apartment kitchen. Russell Stover, would in turn, sell them to neighborhood druggists, on the weekends.
Creation of "Eskimo Pie"
In 1921, Russell Stover, studying chemistry, at the University of Iowa and business partner, Iowa schoolteacher, Christian Nelson patented a process, by which ice cream could be coated, with chocolate, without melting. At a dinner party, Clara suggested calling it an "Eskimo Pie", which became a national sensation. Russell was soon offered licensing agreements, and buyout offers, some millions of dollars. He was also, in lawsuits, suing imitators, hiring many lawyers. Instead, of taking the buyout offers, Stover waited too long and sales plummeted, leaving sales at only, a several thousand dollars.
Stover Candy Company
The Stovers used their meager earnings, to create their own candy company, in Denver, Colorado, known as "Mrs. Stover's Bungalow Candies". Through their successes and failures, they were now prepared to officially run a successful candy business. Russell and Clara Mae Stover began to build factories in Denver and Kansas City, Missouri. In 1931, the Russell Stover Company headquarters was moved to Kansas City, increasing its output, from 20,000 to 11 million pounds, of candy production. In 1943, Mrs. Stover's Bungalow Candies was renamed "Russell Stover Candies".
Mrs. Stover and Stover candy legacy
In 1954, Russell Stover died, after leaving his significant contributions to the American candy industry. Russell Stover candy was sold in 2,000 pharmacies and department stores nationwide, and also, through their 40 company-owned stores. After his death, Clara Stover was the head of Russell Stover Candies for six years.
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In 1975, Clara Stover died in Kansas City, where she had lived with her husband. Her cremated remains are inurned with those of her daughter and husband at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Kansas City.
- Coleman, Daniel. "Clara and Russell Stover, Candymakers". Missouri Valley Special Collections. Kansas. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
- International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 12. St. James Press, 1996
- Russell Stover Chocolates Timeline