See's Candies

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See's Candies Shops, Inc.
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryRetail and candy
FoundedNovember 1921; 102 years ago (November 1921)
FounderCharles See
United States
Key people
Pat Egan (CEO)
ProductsChocolate, candy, brittle
RevenueUS$ $410 million (2016)[1][2]
US$ over $80 million (2019)[3]
OwnerBerkshire Hathaway
Number of employees
1,500 year-round, 6,000+ seasonal

See's Candies is an American manufacturer and distributor of candy, particularly chocolates. 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.[4] See's kitchens are located at its headquarters and maintained at its original factory in Los Angeles,[5] where there are also retail shops. It also has an office in Carson, California.[6] The company has been owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Corporation since 1972.

Location and market area[edit]

The See's Candy company primarily vends its products in its own stores, and those of fellow Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Nebraska Furniture Mart. See's candies are also available at its stores in a number of airports in the United States. See's Candies also operates more than 200 stores in the following U.S. states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington;[7] more than 70% of the stores are in California. There are also stores outside the U.S. in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea, taking advantage of the proximity of the plant to San Francisco International Airport.[8][9] 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. [10]

See's markets its product outside these areas via mail order catalog, in order to control the age of its product. The candies are also available through online orders, and links to the candy company's site can be found on and similar internet stores. Through an arrangement with Costco, coupons for boxes of candies may be purchased at the warehouse outlets and redeemed at See's stores or by mail. Coupons are also sold in fundraising efforts.[11]

In 2020, See's Candies temporarily suspended operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first such suspension since WWII when it became difficult to acquire sugar and other ingredients due to the war effort.[12]

In 2020, See's Candies opened a store in Abu Dhabi in Nation Towers.[13]


A See's Candies store in Sunnyvale, California

According to the corporate website, Charles Alexander See II (1882–1949) arrived in the United States from Canada in 1921[14] 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.

The family opened the first See's Candies shop and kitchen at 135 North Western Avenue in Los Angeles in November 1921.[14] They had twelve shops by the mid-1920s and operated thirty shops during the Great Depression. See's first white and black "all porcelain" store was opened in Bakersfield, California on May 1, 1941.[15]

In 1936 See's opened a shop in San Francisco. It moved operations to make creams and truffles (60% of product sales)[16] to South San Francisco in order to take advantage of the location's cold weather.

In 1972, the See family sold the company, which generated $4 million in pre-tax profit that year, to Berkshire Hathaway for $25 million.[17] On January 3, 1972, Blue Chip obtained a controlling interest in See's Candy Shops. Blue Chip later acquired 100% of See's for an overall price of $25 million. Wesco Financial Corporation was an 80.1% owned subsidiary of Blue Chip Stamps until its complete merger into Berkshire Hathaway in 2011. Warren Buffett has called See's "the prototype of a dream business." (2007)[18] 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 cheaply. The See's acquisition influenced their commitment to buying businesses with a strong reputation and brand recognition.[19]

See's production and warehouse workers are unionized.[20][21]

The 'couverture' chocolate used by See's is provided by the nearby Guittard Chocolate Company,[22] and nuts come from Mariani Nut Company of Winters, California,[23] just about an hour and 20 minutes away. On June 20, 2012, See's Candies was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for the world's largest lollipop, a giant chocolate lollipop weighing 7,003 pounds (3,177 kg) and measuring 4 ft 8.75 in (1.4415 m) long, 3 ft 6 in (1.07 m) wide, and 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) high, equivalent to 145,000 regular-size lollipops.[24] The previous largest lollipop record stood at a hefty 6,514 pounds (2,955 kg).

In popular culture[edit]

See's Candies shop in Hong Kong

In 1952, Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance spent a half day at the See's Candies store on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, learning to dip chocolates and work the production line, in preparation for the "Job Switching" episode of I Love Lucy. The episode, which featured Lucy and Ethel getting jobs in a chocolate factory, became one of the most popular in the show's history.[25]

Singer Cher was working at See's in 1962, when she met Sonny Bono; she quit her job to become his housekeeper.[26]

In a 1987 Kidsongs video, "What I Want to Be", The Kidsongs Kids visit the See's Candies factory during "The Candy Man" song sequence.

In 1994, a driver delivering a bulk order of chocolate fell asleep while his truck was hooked up to one of the vats and pumping; the adjacent El Camino Real and Spruce Avenue were flooded with chocolate. Workers had to shovel it away from the storm drains once the fog had cooled it.[23]

See's Candies was featured by Huell Howser in California's Gold Episode 908.[27]

Every year the South San Francisco facility mounts oversized holiday decorations atop its plant for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Mothers' Day, and Independence Day.[28][better source needed]

On Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher's 2020 Netflix show, Never Have I Ever, the main character, Devi Vishwakumar's mom keeps a cabinet of See's Candies as housewarming/hostess gifts.[29][30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2016 Global Top 100 Candy Companies - 50-26 - Candy Industry". Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  2. ^ Morris, Patrick (July 13, 2014). "Warren Buffett Bought This Company for $25 Million. Now It Makes Nearly $100 Million Every Year". The Motley Fool. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  3. ^ Mohamed, Theron (December 21, 2021). "Warren Buffett's favorite business is a little chocolate maker with an 8000% return. Here are 5 reasons why he loves See's Candies". Markets Insider. Retrieved September 29, 2022.
  4. ^ "About Us." See's Candies. Retrieved on January 18, 2009.
  5. ^ Jung, Carolyn (October 29, 2008). "A Peek Inside the See's Candy Factory". Food Gal. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  6. ^ "Contact Us." See's Candies. Retrieved on January 18, 2009.
  7. ^ "See's Candies | Official Chocolate Shop Locator". Retrieved June 18, 2023.
  8. ^ See's International Shop locations See's Candies. Retrieved on July 25, 2018.
  9. ^ "See's Candies | Official Chocolate Shop Locator". Retrieved June 18, 2023.
  10. ^ "About Us - See's Candies". Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  11. ^ "10 See's Candies Coupons & Promo Codes 2018 + 7% Cash Back". Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  12. ^ "Coronavirus: See's Candies Shutters Peninsula Plant". Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  13. ^ "Sees Candies now in UAE".
  14. ^ a b See's Candies website Archived August 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Bakersfield Californian, April 10, 1941, Page 12, "first all-porcelain store"
  16. ^ "Behance". Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  17. ^ Calvey, Mark (March 2, 2015). "Warren Buffett basks in sweet success of See's Candies, Bank of America deals". Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  18. ^ Peter Bevelin (2012). A Few Lessons for Investors and Managers from Warren E. Buffett. PCA Publishing and Intermountain Books.
  19. ^ Calvey, Mark (August 21, 2012). "Chuck Huggins, former See's Candies CEO, dies at 87". San Francisco Business Journal. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  20. ^ Hawkes, Alison. "See's Candies strike settled". San Mateo Daily Journal. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  21. ^ "Union-Made in America Halloween". AFLCIO. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  22. ^ Palmer, Tamara (June 15, 2009). "Inside a Happy Habit: A Factory Tour of See's Candies". Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  23. ^ a b "The secrets of See's Candies". August 22, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  24. ^ "See's Candies creates world's largest lollipop". Guinness World Records. July 23, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  25. ^ Pick, Margaret Moos (2005). See's Famous Old Time Candies: A Sweet Story. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. p. 91. ISBN 9780811848671. OCLC 57392982.
  26. ^ "See's Candies Case Study". January 26, 2015. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  27. ^ "See's Candy – California's Gold (908) – Huell Howser Archives at Chapman University".
  28. ^ [bare URL image file]
  29. ^ "'Never Have I Ever' Season 1: All of Your Biggest Questions Answered (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  30. ^ "See's Candies Product Placement Seen On Screen". Retrieved June 28, 2021.

External links[edit]