Just Born

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Just Born
Privately owned company
IndustryConfectionery production
FounderSam Born
1300 Stefko Boulevard, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
United States

Just Born is a family-owned Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based candy company[1] that manufactures and markets a number of candies including Goldenberg's Peanut Chews, Hot Tamales, Mike and Ike, Peeps, Teenee Beanee jelly beans, and Zours.

Advertising its products with the slogan "a great candy isn't made... it's Just Born," the company was ranked as the 10th largest candy company in the United States, as of 2013.[2]


Russian immigrant Sam Born (1891-1959) came to the United States in December 1909. In 1916, Born was awarded the "key to the city" of San Francisco for inventing a machine that mechanically inserted sticks into lollipops.

During 1917, Born started a small retail store in Brooklyn, New York. He displayed in his store window an evolving line of daily made candy, advertising its freshness with a sign that declared Just Born. The original company symbol showed a baby resting in a candy measuring scale. Sam Born is also credited with the invention of chocolate sprinkles, known as "jimmies," and the hard coating on ice cream bars.

During 1923, Born started his own manufacturing company in New York City. Irv and Jack Schaffer, Born's brothers in law, joined the company to help market and sell the confections. During 1932,[3] the trio relocated operations to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The company bought a 4 story, 224,396 sq. ft. building, built during 1920, from a bankrupt printing company.

Sam Born's son, Bob Born, joined the company during 1946 and would later become president for more than 30 years. He was part of the two man team that mechanized the process forming Peeps, allowing a substantial increase of production, causing Just Born to become America's largest manufacturer of seasonal marshmallow confections.

During 1953 the company acquired Rodda Candy Co. of Lancaster County;[4] manufacturer of jelly beans, as well as a seasonal (Easter) "martello" candy: Peeps. Just Born later mechanized the product manufacture and eventually generalized its advertising for year-round sales.[3]

During 2003, the company purchased the Goldenberg Candy Company, retaining its Philadelphia factory. Just Born originally rebranded Goldenberg's Peanut Chews as a Just Born product, deleting references to the name Goldenberg, which the company later restored.[5]

Union and pension disputes[edit]

On September 7, 2016, members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 6 voted to strike on Sept. 2 after unanimously rejecting the company's most recent contract offer. Most workers resumed their jobs on September 30, although no final agreement had been made.[6][7]

At the basis of the dispute is the company's attempt to withdraw future employees from a multi-employer pension fund named the Bakery and Confectionery Union and Industrial International Pension Fund.[8][9] Such a withdrawal requires the employer to pay a $60 million USD withdrawal fee (to fund future retirees), which Just Born has gone to court to avoid paying.[8]


  1. ^ Andrew Adam Newman (April 11, 2012). "Reviving Two Characters by Tearing Them Apart". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Nadia Marblestone (August 12, 2013). "Bethlehem's Just Born Quality Confections celebrates 90 years of candy making". Lehigh Valley Live.
  3. ^ a b Dan Sheehan (October 14, 2015). "You know you're from the Lehigh Valley if you ever had Peeps in your Easter basket". The Morning Call, Lehigh Valley.
  4. ^ Andrew Adam Newman (October 11, 1999). "Company Is Making More Than a Peep in the Candy Industry". Bill Bergstrom.
  5. ^ Andrew Adam Newman (August 19, 2012). "After Failed Identity Change, Peanut Chews Reclaims Its Goldenberg's Roots". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Salamone, Anthony. "Watch robots snatch up Just Born's Peeps without squishing them".
  7. ^ Salamone, Anthony (2016-09-30). "Just Born workers returning to their jobs today". The Morning Call. Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  8. ^ a b "Trouble in candy land: How Peeps, pensions and a lawsuit threaten to upend the American retirement system". Washington Post.
  9. ^ "Peeps candy workers win strike case against Just Born".

External links[edit]