McKeesport Candy Marks 75 Years

Published by McKeesport Daily News, November 2001

McKeesport Candy Co, is more than just a small hometown business.

It's run by a family and is rich with tradition.

The third generation, family owned wholesale candy distributor, which has been a fixture in McKeesport, is turning 75 years old in January.

Located at 1101 Fifth Avenue, the business is sprawled out over 25000 square feet and four floors.

The company was first established in 1927 by Ernest Prince, who found his way to McKeesport from Pottstown, PA.

Gerald Prince, Ernest's son, a 73 year old semi-retired company owner now lets his son, Jon H.Prince and manager Tom Griffin, run the day to day operation.

Gerald Prince said in the early days the company sold a lot of candy bars, cigarettes and tobacco products.

"In those days, you just bought stuff and sold it." Gerald Prince said.

But, now, with fierce competition, the business over the past decade has shifted toward fundraising candy distribution and bulk candy.

Jon Prince said the success of the business over the years is quite simple.

"One thing has always stayed the same: We've always stressed to give better than normal customer service." Jon Prince said, "It's very important to us. It's been the key to our survival."

One of those customer service qualities includes Jon Prince writing thank you notes to all of the distributor's customers.

As a distributor, the company repackages candy from such suppliers as Hershey Food Corporation, M&M Mars Inc., and Sunmark Foods.

It then uses its fundraising candy kits and bulk candy boxes to sell its assortment of sweet -tooth gems to retail outlets, supermarkets, schools, social clubs and civic organizations like the Elks Club.

And with candy like Gobstoppers, Reeses Pieces, Cadbury Caramello and Kit Kat Bars, Skittles and Hot Tamales, finding customers isn't difficult.

McKeesport Candy Co. is open to the public and has a website, Customers can walk in and choose from a number of different candies off the wall or, buy a few box loads depending on their appetite or need.

Jon Prince said the company has a 24 Hour Support Hotline, accessible by phone or e-mail, that lets their customers know their orders.

"While others focus on selling candy, we get to personally know our customers," he said, "We know their needs and treat them with the respect they deserve."

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