Necco, the country’s oldest continuously operating candy company, shut down operations at its Massachusetts plant Tuesday after being sold to a new company just months after it was purchased at a bankruptcy auction, according to a report.
Round Hill Investments, the company that sold Necco, which operated under the name Sweetheart Candy Co. LLC, did not identify the company’s new owner, the Boston Globe reported. It did not say whether the factory, in Revere, Mass., would resume producing candy. The company has about 230 workers at the building, the Globe reported.
“Round Hill Investments was very excited to acquire Necco’s historic brands and to be part of their national resurgence,” the company said in a statement published by the Globe. “After careful engagement and consideration, however, the firm decided to sell the brands to another national confection manufacturer and today announced the closure of the operations in Revere, Massachusetts.”
The candy company’s closure has been rumored for months despite the less-than-stellar reputation of the candy. “Necco wafers have been around since before the Civil War — and plenty of detractors would argue they taste like it, too,” the Wall Street Journal wrote in April. Revelations around that time that the factory could be shut down touched off a surge in wafer sales. The company also makes Sweethearts, the heart-shaped Valentine’s Day candy, as well as other less well-known lines such as Mary Janes, Squirrel Nut Zippers and Clark Bars.
The recipe for the company’s wafers has reportedly not been changed since the Civil War.
According to the Boston Globe:
The announcement was a shock to hundreds of the company’s workers, who expected the New England Confectionery Co. to remain open through at least November, when its lease at the Revere plant is scheduled to expire. That lease was originally set to end in August but was extended as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.
Necco’s chief executive Michael McGee reportedly told workers Tuesday afternoon at a town-hall-style meeting held at the cafeteria that Necco would shut down “effective immediately,” according to a Necco mechanic, Chris, who asked that his last name not be used.
“There was a statement they read off about severance pay and ‘thank you for your service’ and where you can pick up all your personal belongings,” Chris said, adding that workers were stunned. “We were told don’t show up tomorrow [Wednesday].”
Necco was sold to Round Hill for $17.3 million in May.