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Thread: Bunte Candies
08-23-2012, 08:23 AM #1
What happened to this OKC-based company?
I know they were headquarted downtown and had their factory (?) / warehouse in Bricktown through the 80's.
They must have gone completely out of business in the early 90's or so? Anybody have the story?
08-23-2012, 08:45 AM #2
Re: Bunte Candies
Here's an article from Steve that provides a bit of history:
Family hopes to turn factory into sweet deal
For more than a decade, the McLain family has held onto some of Bricktown's most prominent properties, preparing for a time when the district might finally be ready for housing.
That time, they believe, has arrived.
The McLains might not be the best-known names in Bricktown, but their ownership in the former industrial district dates back 40 years to when R.T. McLain operated the Bunte Candy factory.
It's that legacy, son Scott McLain said, that inspired the family to name a proposed $40 million development on the same site "The Factory."
The housing project, a collaboration between ERC Development and the McLain family, will convert the block bounded by Main Street, Sheridan and Oklahoma avenues and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks into a mixed development of residences, shops and offices.
The candy company was founded as the Walter Williams Candy Co. in 1932. The family bought the Bunte Brothers Candy Co. in 1960 and moved it from Chicago to Oklahoma City under the direction of R.T. McLain, Williams' son-in-law.
The McLains boast that at its peak, Bunte Candy was the fifth-largest candy manufacturer in the nation, employing more than 500 people. Sales topped $36 million a year, with customers including TG&Y and Wal-Mart.
Candy was produced at the Bricktown factory starting in 1959. Gumdrops, peppermints, orange slices, butterscotch, jellybeans and chocolates were produced there until the company was sold to American Candy Co. in 1990.
Brothers Scott and Rich McLain both grew up in Bricktown and both worked at the Bunte Candy factory along with three other brothers.
The real estate remained in the hands of the McLains, however, and Bricktown was already showing some promise with the 1989 opening of Spaghetti Warehouse.
"I tell people that I worked in Bricktown before Bricktown was cool," Rich McLain said. "While it wasn't glamorous, working at the candy factory taught us a strong work ethic and instilled the sense of history for the building that we respect today."
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