A business built on quality, integrity, and dedication to our customers.
From Corporate Executive To Entrepreneur
In 1957, Leonard Wurzel followed in the footsteps of his father, Maurice, and became the president of Loft Candy Company, a Long Island City, New York-based candy manufacturer and retailer. Loft Candy was featured in 21 department stores in 15 states. In 1964, Leonard and several other Loft Candy executives negotiated to purchase the business from its Philadelphia-based holding company. When the deal fell through, Leonard and a number of other Loft executives decided to resign.
Leonard teamed up with Claude Barnett, a well-respected candy technologist to start their own company in order to franchise retail candy shops. They named it Calico Cottage Candies (Barnett sold his interest in 1971).
Calico Joins A Long Tradition Of Basement Startups.
Operating from an 800-square-foot basement in a house in Hewlett, New York, their concept was revolutionary: all the candy would be manufactured at each store, fresh, in full view of the consumer.
A New Business Model Works… For A While.
Around 1969, the partners tried a new business model: operating leased candy departments in Arlan’s, a fast-growing mass merchandiser. Operating under the name Watchit Maid, most of the candy was shipped in, but a few items, including fudge, were made on-site. This second business model was a success—until a newcomer to the mass merchandise field, K-Mart, crushed Arlan’s and almost took down Calico.
Calico’s Fudge Retailing Solutions Is Created
After the closure of Arlans’, Leonard reinvented the business a third time. This is when Leonard created the Retail Solutions Program that has kept Calico, and its customers growing and profitting since 1971. The company would target existing retailers, helping them to sell fudge year-round by using Calico’s profitable Fresh Fudge Made On-Site Retail Program. As with any new concept, Leonard had to work hard to find retailers willing to try it out. A chance meeting on an escalator paved the way for the prestigious, Chicago-based Marshall Field department store to adopt Calico’s fudge retailing program. This was a critical turning point in that doing business with Marshall Field brought credibility to tiny Calico Cottage.
Calico Expands Again With A New State-Of-The-Art Headquarters
In 1999 Calico built it’s current state-of-the-art 45,000 square foot facility in Amityville, NY. The entire New York based Calico family works at this location… from sales and marketing to manufacturing and shipping, from accounting and development to logistics and operations. This is Calico Cottage’s home.