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Warrell Corp. aims to grow its nonseasonal confectionery-making operations

By , - Last modified: February 15, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Candy is a staple during Halloween and Valentine’s Day, but The Warrell Corp., a Cumberland County-based manufacturer of confectionery products, wants to make its candy more than just a seasonal item.

“We continue to have seasonality in our offerings, so we’re looking to form a more well-rounded breadth of product offerings to be able to retain more people year-round,” Senior Vice President Kevin Silva said. “The seasonality certainly affects our business.”


Since April, The Warrell Corp.,  based in Lower Allen Township, added 38 full-time positions because of growth and new-business generation. The company also added 72 seasonal positions, many of which will end in November, Silva said.


“As our business expands to a year-round business, the seasonality positions can burst to full-time positions,” Silva said.


Warrell is focusing on snacks that are marketed toward year-round consumption, such as peanut brittle and nut crunches, Silva said. The company began shifting into nonseasonal snacks in 2003.


The Warrell Corp. was started in 1965 as Pennsylvania Dutch Candies by Lincoln Warrell. Pennsylvania Dutch Candies is still a unit of The Warrell Corp.


In 2000, the company merged Pennsylvania Dutch Candies and Katharine Beecher Candies, and moved into its current 200,000-square-foot facility on Slate Hill Road. That year, the company had fewer than 200 employees. Today, the company has about 300 employees at the Lower Allen Township location, Silva said.


The company grew in April 2009 with the acquisition of Classic Caramel on West College Avenue in York. There are 20 employees at that site.


“Our reputation as a quality confectioner has attracted some large contract manufacturing business, and our Pennsylvania Dutch Candies division has grown through our focus on strategic sales distribution, such as nonconventional candy outlets,” Silva said.


About 80 percent of the company’s business comes from contract manufacturing, Silva said.


The Warrell Corp. contracts with other companies to research and develop new products to be branded under other names, Silva said.


The Warrell Corp. also is adding new products, such as Krumz, which falls under the company’s contract manufacturing and industrial ingredient business, said Rich Warrell, director of sales and marketing for Classic Caramel.


Krumz is made of ground up peanuts and other products such as caramel, said Jeff Trimmer, contract manufacturer sales manager and Katharine Beecher brand sales manager.


“It’s basically a byproduct of a major production that we have, and it can be sold as an ingredient to bakeries. … You can make cookies out of it. It’s just getting off the ground; it’s a new business for us,” Warrell said.


The Warrell Corp. is reintroducing a confection familiar to baby boomers and their parents: Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy, which first appeared on Coney Island in New York soon after World War II. The Warrell Corp. has a license to be the exclusive contract manufacturer and sales agent for the taffy, Warrell said.


“It’s an old-fashioned candy, and it has not been manufactured for 25 years, and the first shipment just happened on July 1 here, so it’s really a brand-new product being introduced back into the marketplace,” Warrell said.


The largest lines the company produces are nut brittle, including peanut brittle, and extensive chocolate enrobing that is used mostly for chocolate pretzels, Warrell said.


The Warrell Corp. forecasts $55 million in sales for 2010 and hopes to reach $100 million in sales by 2016, Warrell said.


“The largest goal for us right now is to really take advantage of the opportunities at Classic Caramel,” Silva said. “It gets us in the marketplace, and we are continuing to build the quality programs and the formulation database that we need to be able to offer our confectionery contract manufacturing partners a solid line of products.”

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