Fans hoping to say “Be Mine” to Sweethearts Conversation Hearts might experience a little heartbreak this Valentine’s Day.
As pointed out by Candystore.com, this is the first year the colorful candy hearts won’t be in production under the Sweethearts brand. Spangler Candy Co., maker of Dum-Dums, purchased Sweethearts, as well as the Necco wafers and Canada Mints brands, last fall after the New England Confectionery Co. (NECCO) closed its doors.
It took two tries for Spangler to snag the iconic brands. The Ohio-based company made the winning bid on NECCO assets during a May bankruptcy auction, but the deal fell through shortly after because NECCO couldn’t meet closing conditions set forth under Spangler’s purchase agreement.
Round Hill Investments, owned by the Metropoulos family, scooped up NECCO for $17.3 million in June but abruptly shut NECCO’s doors and sold it again in July. Union Confectionery Machinery and Rabin Worldwide auctioned remaining NECCO intellectual property and equipment.
In September, when Spangler announced the acquisitions, CEO Kirk Vashaw said in a now-removed press release the company plans to put Necco wafers back on shelves this year and have Sweethearts available for Valentine’s Day 2020.
But how will Sweethearts fans express their love for one another this year? Will classroom Valentine’s Day parties be the same without boxes of hearts?
Not totally, Candystore.com noted. The online bulk retailer reported that last year, based on the number of pounds sold, Sweethearts was the No. 1 Valentine’s Day candy. NECCO used to make 8 billion conversation hearts each year to meet that demand.
In light of the concern over the missing hearts, Spangler had this to say:
A clever and fitting response. In the meantime, Brach’s, a Ferrara Candy Co. brand, wasn’t afraid to step in and let customers know it has their Valentine’s Day needs covered.
“No need to worry!” reads Brach’s Facebook page. “All of your favorite retailers’ shelves are filled with Brach’s Valentines Conversation Hearts for sharing with your loved ones this season.”
Of course, it takes time to successfully set up production operations of this scope, and I imagine Spangler would rather get Sweethearts right for its debut than hurry through it and disappoint dedicated fans.
I know I’d rather they take their time and preserve the long legacy started by NECCO. We’ll all be waiting eagerly for their return.