The Promotion In Motion Companies Inc., known for brands such as Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Original Gummi FunMix, Sour Jacks Sour Candies and Sun-Maid Chocolate Raisins, is celebrating 40 years since its founding with a look back on its achievements and a donation of 4 million pouches of its Welch’s Fruit Snacks to food banks across the United States.
In honor of its anniversary, the company is providing the fruit snacks to Feeding America, America’s largest hunger-relief organization. The deliveries amounting to nearly 10 truckloads of product are being made to the neediest throughout the United States.
Started with just $150 in 1979 from the college dorm room of founder and CEO Michael Rosenberg, the company later incorporated with $10,000 in 1980. Promotion In Motion has organically grown to become one of the largest snacks and confections producers in the world, making treats enjoyed millions of times each day across the globe.
“The past 40 years have been filled with challenges, successes, obstacles, innovation – but always fun and endless opportunity,” Rosenberg said. “I could never have imagined some of the amazing milestones that we have accomplished as I sat in my dorm room mapping out a future for the modest enterprise I likely envisioned. But the same passion, drive, electricity and excitement remains today as it did in 1979 and 1980.”
From its first product, “Annie Cookies,” to creating Care Bear Gummi Bears, which it originally imported from Germany and sold for over 25 years, to its invention of Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Promotion In Motion’s many milestones include:
1981: Under license from Columbia Pictures, PIM launches its first product, “Annie Cookies,” modeled after traditional animal crackers but based on red-haired Orphan Annie from the famed cartoon strip, Broadway musical and movie, “Annie.”
1982: Rosenberg creates Care Bear Gummi Bears, which becomes a fixture at movie theatres and video store chains across the U.S. for over 25 years.
1990: Rosenberg creates Sour Jacks, which PIM launches into theater concessions, in fundraising, vending machines and eventually retail stores across the U.S. More recently, the product gains fame in Europe and Asia.
1993: PIM establishes its first international subsidiary, Promotion In Motion Canada, and begins distribution in Canada.
1994: PIM partners with Sun-Maid Growers of California to launch Sun-Maid Milk Chocolate Raisins, becoming the leading brand at warehouse clubs and loved by millions of moviegoers everywhere.
1998: Rosenberg conceives the idea to create new fruit snacks made with real fruit. PIM successfully develops the unique formula and partners with the National Association of Grape Growers to secure rights to the beloved Welch’s brand. In 2001, Welch’s Fruit Snacks are born and go on to become the No. 1 fruit snacks brand worldwide with over 100 packs sold every second of every day.
2001: PIM forges partnership with Jake, S.L. and begins manufacturing its confections and snacks in Murcia, Spain, which in less than 20 years becomes one of the largest exports from Spain, with over 2.5 million pounds of product shipped weekly. PIM eventually becomes a major shareholder of the company.
2004: To meet the demand of its growing portfolio of loved products, the company opens its first manufacturing facility at 500 Pierce Street, Somerset, N.J. and transforms the former Mercedes Benz of North America Parts Distribution Center into the largest fruit snacks manufacturing plant in the world.
2006: Expanding on the success of Welch’s Fruit Snacks, PIM launches Welch’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt Snacks, a first-of-its kind snack made with real fruit in the center and covered in creamy real yogurt.
2012: Manufacturing expansion continues in Somerset with the opening of a 100,000-sq.-ft. facility at 1600 Cottontail Lane allowing for additional offices and warehousing for raw materials. Further, IRI in concert with Boston Consulting Group, names PIM the seventh fastest growing Consumer Packaged Goods Company in North America. PIM goes on to be named four times in the next seven years to that list.
2014: Crain’s New York Business names PIM one of the 100 largest privately owned companies in the New York Metro Area, while NJ Biz names PIM one of the 50 largest privately owned employers in the State of New Jersey.
2016: To meet growing demand, PIM opens a new 325,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in the former Toys ‘R’ Us distribution center at One Heller Lane Somerset, N.J., a facility the size of more than five football fields.
2017: PIM establishes a new pharmaceuticals subsidiary, Pharma In Motion, producing vitamins, supplements, nutraceuticals, OTC pharmaceutical and other products in gummi and other formats.
2018: PIM shakes up the gummi market with one of the most successful confectionery launches in years, Original Gummi FunMix, a literal “Party In A Bag” with 60 unique shapes, colors and flavors in five varieties – from gummi to sour to extremely sour – for endless combinations of fun.
2019: Promotion In Motion breaks ground on an 80,000-sq.-ft. expansion to the main factory at 500 Pierce Street in Somerset, N,J,, bringing the company’s presence in Franklin Township to over 750,000 sq. ft. The expanded facility allows the company to bump its U.S. production to over 100 million pounds of Welch’s Fruit Snacks and other treats.
2020: PIM begins a nearly $20 million renovation and expansion for new global headquarters in the former headquarters of Hertz Corporation in Park Ridge, N.J. which will include extensive R&D labs, tasting and sensory labs, along with expansive office and conferencing space for its now 150 corporate headquarters based associates. Additionally, with demand still growing, PIM adds another 310,000 sq. ft. distribution center on Randolph Road in Somerset, which will house nearly 46,000 pallets, equaling almost 2,000 full truckloads of its products, along with a new factory outlet store to open in late 2021.
2021: PIM will move into its new global headquarters, an expansive state-of-the-art complex in Park Ridge, N.J.
“We’ve especially been blessed with dynamic talent, dedication and commitment by the associates in all corners of our company, from our headquarters offices, to our sales professionals domestically and abroad, and from our distribution centers to the manufacturing lines at our plants here in New Jersey and across the world,” Rosenberg said. “They make our company a great place to work and bring our products to life day in and out. PIM looks forward to the next 40 years of compelling innovations, collaborative successes and to creating beloved snacks and delicious confections which will continue to excite consumers of all ages, and for all eating, treating and snacking occasions.”