Tootsie Roll Industries

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Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc.
S&P 600 Component
FounderLeo Hirshfield
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois
Key people
Ellen R. Gordon
RevenueGreen Arrow Up.svg$ 527.1M USD (2019)
Green Arrow Up.svg$ 69.2M USD (2019)
Number of employees

Tootsie Roll Industries is an American manufacturer of confectionery. Its best-known products have been Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops. Tootsie Roll Industries currently markets its brands internationally in Canada, Mexico, and over 75 other countries.[citation needed]


In 1896, Leo Hirshfield, an Austrian Jewish immigrant to the United States, began work at a small candy shop located in New York City owned by the Stern & Saalberg firm.[2] In 1907, Hirshfield decided he wanted a chocolate-tasting candy that would not melt in the heat, and that would be an economical artificial alternative to traditional chocolates.[citation needed] He named the candy after the nickname of his daughter, Clara "Tootsie" Hirshfield.[3][2] By this point, the company had expanded to a five-story factory. In 1917, the name of the company was changed to The Sweets Company of America. It was reformed and listed on the American Stock Exchange in 1919.[4]

The business forced Hirshfield out about a year later, and he started a new company, Mells Candy Corporation, also known as The Merry Mells Company.[5] Owing to health and family issues, he committed suicide in 1922.[6] Mells failed in 1924.[7]

In 1931, the Tootsie Pop — a hard-candy lollipop with Tootsie Roll filling — was invented, and quickly became popular with Dust Bowl refugees during the Depression era because of its low price. During World War II, Tootsie Rolls became a standard part of American soldiers' field rations, due to the sustainability of the candy under a variety of environmental conditions.[2]

In 1935, the company was in serious difficulty. Its principal supplier of paper boxes, Joseph Rubin & Sons of Brooklyn — concerned about the possible loss of an important customer — became interested in the possibility of acquiring control. The company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but Bernard D. Rubin acquired a list of shareholders and approached them in person in order to purchase their shares. The Rubins eventually achieved control and agreed that Bernard would run the company as president. Mr. Rubin was able to steadily increase sales and restore profits, changing the formula of the Tootsie Roll and increasing its size, moving from Manhattan to a much larger plant in Hoboken, New Jersey, and guiding the company successfully through the difficult war years when vital raw materials were in short supply. When he died in 1948, he had increased the sales volume twelvefold. After his death, his brother William B. Rubin became president and remained president until 1962.

In 1962, William's daughter, Ellen Rubin Gordon, took control, and as of January 2015, is Chairman and CEO of the company.[8] For many years prior to his death, her husband, Melvin Gordon, was Chairman and CEO from 1962 to 2015.[1]

In 1966, the company adopted its current name of "Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc."[9][10][11]

The company has acquired several famous brands of confections such as The Candy Corporation of America's Mason Division (1972), Cella's Confections (1985), The Charms Company (1988), Warner-Lambert's candy division (1993; excluding gum and mints), Andes Candies (2000), and Concord Confections (2004).


The company's headquarters is located on the South Side of Chicago, in a portion of the former Dodge Chicago Plant where the majority of the company's candy is produced. The company also has a factory in Mexico City where it produces some flavors of Tootsie Pops and other candy products for the Mexican market as well as for export to the U.S. and Canada.[citation needed] There is also a candy factory in The Port neighborhood of Cambridge, Massachusetts (belonging to the subsidiary "Cambridge Brands", formerly home to its predecessor, the James O. Welch Company),[12] and a factory in Spain that produces candy for export to Canada.[13]

Brands and products[edit]

A large Tootsie Roll log
Dots gumdrops

Tootsie Roll brands and products include:


  1. ^ a b Alison Griswold (21 January 2015). "Tootsie Roll CEO dies at 95: We may never know how many licks". Slate Magazine.
  2. ^ a b c Andrew F. Smith (2006). Encyclopedia of junk food and fast food. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-33527-3. Entry "Tootsie Roll", p 271.
  3. ^ "Tootsie Roll Factory!". Archived from the original on 2021-12-21 – via
  4. ^ "Candy Company Organized". The Evening Sun. 1919-07-03. p. 9. Retrieved 2020-06-03 – via open access.
  5. ^ The Soda Fountain. D. O. Haynes. 1922. pp. 89, 91.
  6. ^ "Kills Himself in Hotel – Illness and Wife's Breakdown Are Blamed for Candy Man's Suicide". New York Times. January 14, 1922. p. 13 (S 22). Retrieved November 28, 2017 – via open access; publisher URL can be found in. Lay summary.
  7. ^ January 4, 1 longwhitekid |; Pm, 2014 at 6:37 (2014-01-04). "Tootsie Roll Tragedy: The Real Leo Hirschfeld Story". Candy Professor. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
  8. ^ Kesling, Ben (August 22, 2012). "Tootsie's Secret Empire". The Wall Street Journal. pp. B1–B2.
  9. ^ Schlesinger, Hank (2015-02-02). "Melvin Gordon Is Dead At 95; Led Tootsie Roll Industries". Vending Times. Retrieved 2015-02-20.
  10. ^ Watt, Abigail (2015-01-22). "CEO and Chairman of Tootsie Roll Melvin Gordon dies at 95". Candy Industry. Retrieved 2015-02-20.
  11. ^ Strom, Stephanie (2015-01-21). "Melvin J. Gordon, Who Ran Tootsie Roll Industries, Dies at 95". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-02-20.
  12. ^ "Tootsie Roll Candies - Cambridge Brands, Cambridge, MA - Iconic Factories on".
  13. ^ "Photo". Retrieved 2021-04-21.

External links[edit]