Ownership of St. Paul-based Pearson’s Candy Co. has returned to Minnesota after Minneapolis-based Spell Capital Partners acquired the company from Connecticut’s Brynwood Partners.
Brynwood owned the 109-year-old company, known for Salted Nut Rolls, Nut Goodies, Mint Patties and Bit-O-Honey, since 2011. Michael Keller has served as president and ceo since Brynwood’s acquisition.
"Not only is it great to have a local investment firm acquiring a local manufacturing company, but Spell has a lot of background in manufacturing," Keller told the Minneapolis StarTribune.
Keller also noted Pearson’s facility on West Seventh Street needs updating, and Spell is prepared to invest in Pearson's manufacturing operations.
"It makes a lot of sense for a new owner to make that investment at the beginning of its ownership cycle and Spell, given their experience with manufacturing companies, they get that,” he said.
Pearson’s 185 employees will remain in place. Terms of the transaction, which closed Friday, were not disclosed.
Bill Spell, president of Spell Capital, said he and his company’s investors are pleased to back a historic business with Minnesota roots and a focus on manufacturing.
"At Spell, we have a passion for and an extensive interest in manufacturing-based business, and we see meaningful opportunities for improvement and growth at Pearson's,” he said.
Pearson’s acquired the Bit-O-Honey brand in 2013 from Nestlé. In 2016, Pearson’s developed 7th Street Confections, named for Pearson’s address. The line, launched in 2017, offers better-for-you snacking products, such as Dark Chocolate Thins, and an opportunity for Pearson’s to experiment outside of its heritage brands.
“For more than a hundred years, Pearson’s has been known for creating innovative products that stand the test of time,” Keller said in a 2017 press release. “Having co-manufactured one of the industry’s leading snacking chocolates for four years, we intimately understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creating a unique taste experience.”