Alpine Confections, Inc. History

119 East 200 North
Alpine, Utah 84004

Telephone: (801) 756-6916
Toll Free: 800-377-4368
Fax: (801) 756-7791

Private Company
Incorporated: 1999
Employees: 900
Sales: $125 million (2005 est.)
NAIC: 311320 Chocolate and Confectionery Manufac- turing from Cacao Beans; 311330 Confectionery Manufacturing from Purchased Chocolate; 311340 Nonchocolate Confectionery Manufacturing

Key Dates:

The Fannie May and Fanny Farmer brands are established.
Ohio's Harry London Candies is founded.
Maxfield Candy Company of Salt Lake City is formed.
Utah's Kencraft, Inc. is launched.
Vancouver's Dynamic Chocolates is formed.
Robert and Taz Murray acquire Maxfield Candy.
Kencraft is acquired by Taz Murray and David Taiclet.
Dynamic Chocolates is acquired.
Alpine Confections, Inc. holding company is formed.
Alpine wins the Hallmark Chocolatier licensing deal.
The Fannie May, Fanny Farmer, and Harry London brands are added.

Company History:

Alpine Confections, Inc. owns a number of candy companies, including Maxfield Candy Company, Kencraft, Inc., and Harry London Candies Inc. The Fanny Farmer and Fannie May brands were acquired from bankrupt Archibald Candy Corporation in 2004. Alpine also produces confections under license for Hallmark and Mrs. Fields'. Canadian brands include Dolce d'Or and Botticelli, produced at the Dynamic Chocolates plant in Delta, British Columbia.

Utah Origins

Robert B. Murray and his son, R. Taz Murray, acquired Salt Lake City's Maxfield Candy Co. in August 1993 for $1.8 million. Bob Murray had become a business professor at Brigham Young University after flying jets in the Korean War.

Maxfield was known for its boxed chocolates and chocolate-enrobed cream sticks. It had been formed in 1947 by A. Vard Maxfield. His son, Neal, was president of the company when it was sold to the Murrays.

Taz Murray then became business partners with a former classmate at Harvard Business School, David Taiclet. (After getting their MBAs, they had worked for a time at Cargill and Deloitte & Touche, respectively.) The expanded partnership acquired another Utah confectioner, Kencraft, Inc., in 1994.

Kencraft had been founded in 1969 by Ken and Marlene Matheson of Salt Lake City. Their first products were hollow sugar Easter eggs with figures inside. The Mathesons moved to Utah County in 1972.

Kencraft's big break came when a New York buyer noticed the novelty candies at a Chicago trade show. The operation moved into a 900-square-foot building at the Alpine Valley Lumber Co. in the town of Alpine. This became Kencraft's permanent home and the site of a 90,000-square-foot factory.

A pair of "Peppermint Place" retail outlets, one adjacent to the plant, opened in 1991. By 1993, the company was making 800 different products, including lollipops, chocolate truffles, candy canes, and confections designed to celebrate a number of holidays. Many of the items were adorned with hand-formed figures and branded with names such as Candy Climbers, Puppet Pals, and Bubble Gum Buddies. Kencraft employed 215 people, many of them "craftsy" Mormon women who decorated the candies.

Under new management, Taiclet told Candy Industry, employment became less seasonal for Kencraft's production workers as the company built up inventory. They also added incentives for productivity. The Utah Department of Workforce Services cited Kencraft as a "Top Family Friendly Company."

Late 1990s Licensing

In the late 1990s, Maxfield Candy updated its logo and packaging for its own brand, All American Chocolates. A new boxed chocolate line aimed at the Hispanic market called "

Further Reading:

  • "Alpine Confections Kicks Off Hallmark Partnership," Candy Industry, August 1, 2002, p. 12.
  • Babbit, Christi, "'Tis Always the Season for Candy Confections," Deseret News (Salt Lake City), November 8, 1999, p. B1.
  • Crown, Judith, "Fannie and Fanny Fight Dusty Image; Parent Plans Careful Shifts at Candy Store," Crain's Chicago Business, February 21, 1994, p. 4.
  • Dorrell, Kathryn, "Dynamic Approach to Chocolate Processing," Food in Canada, June 1998, p. 15.
  • Eddington, Mark, "Alpine's Kencraft Turns Sweet Profit," Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), December 11, 1994, p. 1.
  • Fannie May Confections Inc., More Than 84 Years of Fannie May--A Success Story, Chicago: Fannie May Confections Inc., c. 2004.
  • Fuhrman, Elizabeth, "Alpine Wins Court's Blessing for Harry London Purchase," Candy Industry, August 2003, pp. 14-15.
  • Kurtz, Rod, "Testing, Testing...," Inc., June 2004, p. 35.
  • Lloyd, Jennifer, "Leaders & Success: Fannie Merritt Farmer," Investor's Business Daily, September 9, 1999, p. A4.
  • Mitchell, Lesley, "Utah Retail Firm to Market Bankrupt Brands," Salt Lake Tribune, February 24, 2004.
  • Oberbeck, Steven, "Nutrition Labels: A Big Problem for Small Utah Businesses," Salt Lake Tribune, July 18, 1993, p. F1.
  • ------, "Sweets Firm Bitter Over Competition; Maxfield's Candy Names Former President in Suit," Salt Lake Tribune, May 28, 1997, p. D4.
  • Pacyniak, Bernard, "Utah's Candy Medalists," Candy Industry, February 2002, pp. 24+.
  • "Purchase of Maxfield's Helps Propel Alpine to Very Sweet Success," Deseret News, June 25, 2000, p. M3.
  • Rave, Jodi, "Candy Makers Settle Lawsuit on Trade Secrets; Neal's and Maxfield's Dispute Illustrates Competitiveness of Utah Sweets Industry," Salt Lake Tribune, April 21, 1998, p. B5.
  • Russell, John, "Bankruptcy Court Approves Sales of Green, Ohio-Based Chocolate Maker," Knight-Ridder Tribune Business News: Akron Beacon Journal, July 23, 2003.
  • Schmeltzer, John, "Chicago Loses Another Icon As Archibald Candy Corp. Shuts Down," Chicago Tribune, February 26, 2004.
  • ------, "Fannie May Candies' Sales, Demand Greater Than Anticipated," Chicago Tribune, December 14, 2004.
  • ------, "Utah-Based Candymaker to Acquire Fannie May," Chicago Tribune, January 15, 2004.
  • ------, "Utah Candy Firm Takes Over Fannie May Brand, Plans to Keep Name," Chicago Tribune, February 26, 2004.
  • Smith, Erika, and Gloria Irwin, "Green, Ohio-Based Chocolate Maker to Become Subsidiary of Utah Company," Knight-Ridder Tribune Business News: Akron Beacon Journal, April 29, 2003.
  • Tarantino, Teresa, "Going for the Gold," Professional Candy Buyer, July/August 2000.
  • Warchol, Glen, "A Card and a Box of Chocolate," Salt Lake Tribune, August 7, 2002, p. B4.
  • ------, "Sweet Increase," Salt Lake Tribune, September 21, 2003, p. E1.
  • Wharton, Tom, "Alpine, Utah, Factory Produces Hand-Made Candy for International Chains," Salt Lake Tribune, December 19, 1999.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 71, St. James Press, 2005.