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Follow that Truck to the N.J. State Fair!

We have all fallen prey to the scent of a steakhouse or hot dog stand at least once in our lives. One second you don’t even realize you’re hungry, and the next you’re desperately searching for a parking space as your tummy rumbles with temptation. The power of smell is not to be underestimated; just think of how many times you have been transported to a particular place with just a whiff, how quickly the smell of your grandmother’s perfume can fill your mind with mountains of wonderful memories. To be sure, smell plays a monumental role in our lives, and can influence both the decisions we make and the way we feel.

Traditionally, most of us have been made aware of attractions through something we saw, be it a billboard, a television commercial or an advertisement on the side of a taxicab or bus. These are all effective ways to catch our attention and let us know of places or events we might enjoy visiting, be it a new restaurant, concert, performance or amusement park. To be sure, these methods of advertising work, along with word-of-mouth and other means. But something many of us might not have experienced is intentional scent marketing – emphasis on ‘intentional.’ Did that steakhouse engage in scent marketing when the aroma of a flavorful filet mignon brought us near? Yes – I think it’s safe to say it did. But that scent marketing was a natural byproduct of what was cooking inside, not a scent for scent’s sake. What the State Fair Meadowlands in New Jersey will be doing is something else entirely!

An article on DetroitNews.com caught my eye this morning as I was reading up on the latest candy news – Trucks emitting cotton candy scent promote N.J. state fair. Did my eyes deceive me, or was I really reading that there are magical trucks that smell of cotton candy? The only truck I’ve ever been trapped behind on the road reeked of exhaust – cotton candy would certainly be a welcome change! Reading on I discovered one of the coolest means of marketing I’ve ever had the pleasure of coming across – truly intentional scent marketing. According to the article, “fair operators will be spending $15,000 for two trucks to circulate in New Jersey and New York between now and the final weekend of the fair.” These trucks will be carrying mobile billboards that use a fabric drenched in the sweet smell of cotton candy and rely on the wind to carry the fair-favorite fragrance to passing drivers and passengers. The goal is to make them aware of the fair through sight and smell, which will ideally result in them making a stop at the fair part of their plans.

I know a good idea when I smell one, and I think this smells like success! What are your thoughts about scent marketing? Should Blair Candy jump on the scent wagon?

Unwrapping The 2012 Sweets & Snacks Expo

Wow, has this month flown by! One minute we were packing for the National Confectioners Association’s Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, and the next, we were celebrating Memorial Day weekend! It’s been a busy month for us, with planning our move to our sparkling new (and much larger!) candy warehouse, debuting our new Candy By Decades section on our website, and of course – attending the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago from May 8-10.

A whopping 570+ candy and snack companies exhibited their wares at the Sweets & Snacks Expo, debuting new candy and snack varieties that they hope will sell well this coming year. We came home with tons of tasty treats for our Blair Candy team to taste test and decide whether we should place them on our online candy store shelves. We were one of about 15,000 professionals in the candy industry to attend, and we had a wonderful time networking with candy companies and other candy and snack stores. We also reflected on the growth of the candy and snack industry through keynote sessions and learned some innovative marketing ideas to help us only grow.

Here’s a glimpse into the sweet life – at the Sweets and Snacks Expo 2012!

Keep a close eye on our online candy store shelves – we’re excited to be adding some of the fun new candy discovered at the Sweets & Snacks Expo!

Making That Birthday Gift Box So Much Sweeter

We’ve been making lots of candy-coated changes here at Blair Candy over the last few months, including moving soon into our brand new candy warehouse. We’ve just debuted another “new” – our Candy By Decades section on our website! We say with pride and affection that we’re pretty nuts about candy, and we’ve long been in wonderment on the different types of sweets that have blossomed from various decades over the last century. Doesn’t it just make sense that Fun Dip debuted in the same decade as when we needed a little “carefree” in our lives post-WWII?

We found ourselves chatting with many a customer on candy gift ideas, including offering up gift suggestions that relate to the gift recipient’s birth year or the decade they grew up in, so we figured, hey, why not make it easy and create a category of candy from each decade? A great birthday gift idea is to pair candy from the decade they were born or grew up in with a small gift that fits into that decade, as well! We put our heads together and came up with some awesome ideas for you:

  • Candy From The 20s: Pair some Caramel Creams, Chiclets, and Clark Bars with Betty Boop memorabilia, a typewriter key bracelet, or a Babe Ruth figurine.
  • Candy From The 30s: Combine delish Candy Buttons, PayDay bars, and Snickers with a so retro “tick tock” cat clock, Fedora hat, or a sleek cocktail shaker.
  • Candy From The 40s: Wrap up Junior Mints, Bazooka bubble gum, and Fun Dip in a package with a vintage pin-up girl poster, WWII coin collection, and a pack of Coca-Cola in the original Coke “bottle” look.
  • Candy From The 50s: Put a bow on a gift of Candy necklaces, Dum Dum lollipops, and Satellite Wafers by pairing it with a whimsical Gumby and Pokey set, Silly Putty, and a retro apron.
  • Candy From The 60s: Reflect on one fun decade by combining a gift of Gummy Swedish Fish, Fruit Stripe Gum, and Twizzlers with a tie-dyed shirt, Beatles poster, and a space shuttle figurine.
  • Candy From The 70s: Break that disco ball out and give a gift of PopRocks, Laffy Taffy, and Bubble Yum, along with a disco ball keychain, lava lamp, or anything with “groovy” written on it!
  • Candy From The 80s: Celebrate this neon-hued decade with a gift of Gummy Bears, Runts, and Nerds, paired with a so-fun Atari video game, Pac-Man wind-up toys, and a Rubik’s cube.

These are just a few ideas that our sugar-filled team came up with – what are some Candy By Decade candy and gift pairings that you’ve gifted or would love to gift?

Blair Candy Cares–Do You?

Earth Day is April 22nd, and we at BlairCandy.com want to do our part, and help you do yours, to give a little extra TLC to Mother Earth. It is easy to make some small changes to make a big impact!

In the past, we used packing peanuts for securing our shipments. Now, we use packing material that is comprised of 60% recycled material for almost all of our shipments; gone is the styrofoam, because this new option is made from paper!  BlairCandy.com recycles cardboard, too.

What You Can Do?

Switch from styrofoam and plastic products to paper ones, such as eco-friendly hot dog boats and earth friendly French fry trays.

It sounds simple, but to quote Woodsy The Owl, “Give a hoot; don’t pollute!” Habits start young, so be sure to teach children from early on that candy and gum wrappers go in the trash basket, not on the ground.

Think about volunteering for a local “Adopt A Roadway” initiative with your family or workplace and help keep the shoulders of the roads clean and clear of debris or trash. It’s good publicity for an employer, and a great way for children and adults to get involved in the community around the home. Contact AdoptAHighway.net or your local city or town hall for information.

Use biodegradable paper bags instead of plastic ones.  One plastic bag can literally take hundreds of years to break down, and may not ever fully decompose. With an estimated 100 billion plastic bags used every year, you can imagine what kind of problem we have on our hands.

Buy in bulk – with bulk candy, of course! It saves on packing materials, and is lighter on your wallet, too, as the average cost per unit decreases when the quantity in the package increases. Also, don’t be wasteful. If you have leftover candy (think Easter, Halloween, etc.) or supplies (Little League snack stands, family picnics, etc.) that you can’t use, don’t trash them; donate to a local shelter instead. You would be surprised at how much the little things are appreciated by your fellow citizens, and by good old Mother Earth.

Do We Eat Too Much Easter Candy? Never!!

We had the pleasure of coming across a hop-tastic Easter candy infographic posing the question “Do We Eat Too Much Easter Candy?” Sure, many of us nosh on our fair share of scrumptious candy on Easter morning…and Easter afternoon…and Easter night, but candy is all about moderation. Like all things, enjoy candy throughout the year in normal quantities, and when it comes to candy-rich holidays, like Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween, treat yourself to all the seasonal candies till your heart’s content. Life’s short, so sweeten it with candy ;-)

The candy facts we crave:

  • 16 billion Jelly Beans are created just for Easter
  • 90 million chocolate bunnies are produced each year for Easter
  • 4 million Peeps and Chicks are produced for Easter – each day!
  • Each household spends around $131 on Easter candy

Do you concur with these candylicious numbers? How much do you typically spend on Easter candy? What kind of Easter treats do you usually choose- Jelly Beans, Peeps, chocolate bunnies, Reeses Eggs, etc…

Share it with us by leaving a comment!

Easter by the Numbers

Displayed on Care2.com, created by DegreeSearch.org, and credited to Robert Banh

Nello Ferrara, Candy Great, Passes Away at 93

We typically like the keep the Blair Candy blog a pretty happy place, but when browsing the web this morning we came across a spot of sad news – Nello Ferrara, the candy creator of timeless favorites Atomic Fire Balls and Lemonheads, passed away on February 3rd. The Washington Post reports that the 93 year old “died Friday at his home in the Chicago suburb of River Forest surrounded by his family.”

While the news of Ferrara’s passing is upsetting, what we learned about him in the rest of the article and several other articles was anything but! It makes us smile to know the man behind many candies we grew up on and still love today was as sweet as the sugar that is the foundation of his tasty treats. His son, Salvatore Ferrara, shared with The Washington Post that Nello was known for his daily singing, which was shared with those beyond the family when he would turn on the serenading charm at restaurants. Clearly a man who understood the beauty and importance of family, he and his wife Marilyn were married 63 years, and had “mandatory family dinners every Sunday.”

As for what they ate at those Sunday dinners? An article from the Forest Park Review quoted his granddaughter Alana as saying, “He’d be standing in front of the stove cooking for his grandchildren and kids, making spaghetti and meatballs with gravy and sausage. Because that’s what he did. He was a phenomenal cook.” As for what he sang? The article names favorites including Send in the Clowns and Wind Beneath My Wings. Alana mentions that he sang Wind Beneath My Wings to his wife, “and he meant it every single time.”

We’ll always be grateful to Nello for the delicious treats he brought to the candy dishes of our past and present, but are most moved by what a fantastic person he seemed to be. We’re sending warm wishes to his family and friends in this time of loss, and hoping the wonderful memories and strong family connection that was so important to Nello will bring them peace.

Chew on This: Sugar Free Gum Can Help Keep Cavities Away!

I love sugar free gum. My desk drawer, coat pockets and purse are always well-stocked with at least a few pieces. I chew it when I’m stressed, I chew it when I’m happy, I chew it even when it’s not considered polite to chew it (Sorry, Mom!) But for as many pieces as I pop into my mouth without much thought throughout the day, there is one time it is a very conscious decision – after eating. I don’t always have the time or tools to brush, but I’ve always got a piece of gum! And as it turns out, chewing gum may actually be helping me keep my teeth in tip-top shape. I’d heard this before, but feared it was just an old wives’ tale!

I recently came across an answer from Dr. Anthony Komaroff on CantonRep.com. The question? “I always thought chewing gum was bad for my teeth. But then a friend told me it actually helps prevent cavities. Who’s right?” Well, given the title of the article – Ask Dr. K: Sugarless gum can help prevent cavities – I’d say her friend is right!

The doctor goes on to explain that sweets-loving bacteria live in our dental plaque, and “get the energy they need to live by consuming sugars in the foods you eat.” But these bacteria aren’t just your run-of-the-mill freeloaders living off your hard-earned lunch! No, they aren’t content to just eat your sugars and call it a day, they have to take it one step further and produce acids when they eat your sugar. And the acids? Those can lead to the big bad of the dental world – Cavities! But your body doesn’t want these acids to win; it has a vested interest in protecting itself. So it brings saliva to the rescue – saliva that “washes away the acids.” And when you chew gum, you get your saliva production kicked up a gear, giving your body more ammo against the acid.

Just be sure that if you’re really interested in preserving your teeth you reach for the sugarless gum. An occasional piece of sugared gum can be enjoyed just like candy, but chewing it for long periods regularly will just be giving those bacteria a bigger bite. Luckily, your sugar free gum options are extensive and delicious! There’s Dentyne Pure, a personal favorite – Sugarless Bubble Yum, a kid-friendly classic pick – Trident Splash, with a flavorful middle – Orbit gum, an oh-so-popular pick (I’m chewing Maui Melon Mint as I type!) – and many, many more. Now get chewing, everyone! :)

BlairCandy.com is Celebrating Its 12th Birthday in 2012!

Do you recognize that logo in the image above? You just might if you’ve been shopping with us since the beginning at BlairCandy.com! We took a little trip through the Wayback Machine at Archive.org to take a nostalgic peek at what BlairCandy.com looked like back when George W. Bush was taking his first crack at the whole President thing, Train was filling the radio airwaves with “Drops of Jupiter” and we were all getting comfortable with being among those that got the opportunity to live in a new millenium! Yes, the year was 2001, and BlairCandy.com was celebrating it’s first birthday. Needless to say, there were oh-so-stuffed goodie bags full of candy at the party!

While our brick and mortar store here in Altoona, PA has been selling sweet treats for 73 years, and certainly isn’t about to retire, our online store hasn’t quite hit its teenage years just yet. In the world of online stores, 12 is actually pretty mature, although you might not recognize that maturity if you were at the office during one of the many practical jokes we play on one another! But when the time comes to get down to business, we set the jokes aside for a bit. We’re always learning, changing and evolving to better serve you, and aren’t afraid to mix things up in the quest to create the best buying experience for our customers. That experience includes bringing you tried-and-true tasty treats at pocket-friendly prices, new products that just might become old favorites, and creating an easy-to-navigate site that lets you find what you’re looking for fast while also being easy on the eyes! We see lots of ugly sites out there, and we don’t ever want to be one of them. J

To celebrate our 12th year online, we’re having a virtual party, and you’re all invited! Keep an eye on the Blair Candy Twitter, Blair Candy Facebook and Blair Candy emails for more information on superior sales and fun contests. We may have sprouted a few more gray hairs around here since we opened our online doors in the year 2000, but we still know how to have a good time!

Out With The Old, And In With The New – New Candy For 2012!

 

2011 was a banner year for all of us here at Blair Candy, and we couldn’t be more thankful for it! We appreciate all of our loyal customers and can’t wait to ring in 2012. As the champagne corks pop and the bubbles flow this New Year’s Eve, our candylicious team is excited for all the New Candy for 2012! As you’re belting out Auld Lang Syne when that glittering ball drops (or prying your eyelids open to stay awake!), come along with us as we get ready for the sweets 2012 has in store for us.

M&M's Mint Dark Chocolate

M&M’s Mint Dark Chocolate – Mint and chocolate have long been refreshing pals, and they’re coming to us as the small, round chocolate candy favorites that we know and love. Dark chocolate is also known for its health benefits, so let’s clink to health and M&M’s Mint Dark Chocolate at midnight!

3 Musketeer Coconut – I certainly want 3 Musketeer’s signature chocolate-coated nougat to be a part of my 2012, and now that they’re adding coconut flavor to that nougat? Oh, what a slice of heaven. It has 40% less fat than most candy bars, so I can still stick to those weight loss New Year’s resolutions I’ll totally not keep this year!

Jolly Rancher Crunch n Chew – Jolly Rancher has continually reinvented itself, from hard candies to gummies and lollipops. We’d love to add some jolly to our 2012, and with their hard outside and chewy inside, we’re ready to sink our teeth into 365 days of cherry, green apple, watermelon, and blue raspberry.

Pez Muppets – Did you love the Muppets movie as much as we did? We can’t get enough of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Elmo and the gang, and they’re in Pez form for 2012! Keep a pack in your pocket, and you’ll be in for a sugary delight to make your 2012 a candy-coated one.

Our New Year’s resolution this year? Simple – make it a sweet one. As Ernestine Ulmer’s delicious quote goes, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” Nostalgic Candy will never be forgotten, but oh, we’re toasting to a 2012 filled with candy and chocolate fabulousness. Happy New Year!

Women Are From Venus, New American Candy Jobs Are From Mars!

If you haven’t heard the exciting news already, Mars Chocolate is building a new chocolate factory in Topeka, Kansas – their first new American chocolate factory in 35 years! At a time when Americans need jobs more than almost ever, this $250 million investment will bring 200 jobs right out of the gate, with numbers possibly rising to as many as 1,000 jobs moving forward. That’s a lot of jobs and a lot of candy, and those are 2 of our favorite things!

We first read this exciting story in the abc NEWS/Money section of their website in an article titled, “Made in America: From Candy to Candles, Companies Bring Jobs Home”.  The article goes on to explain that this won’t simply be any old factory, but a “facility to meet LEEDS [Leadership in Energy and Environment Design] Gold standards for construction and building efficiency as well as to take advantage of sustainable energy resources that the state of Kansas has to offer.” New jobs, American-made candy, and environmental-friendliness? I may have to go grab a Milky Way from the refrigerator just to calm down!

Other companies in non-candy industries are also mentioned in the article for moving jobs back to the US as well, including Farouk, a popular hair care company, and Chesapeake Bay Candle, who will be moving back to Maryland (where their name will make a lot more sense!). In addition to increasing jobs, there is much mention of increasing overall quality, a word that is often very accurately associated with “Made in America”.

We hope you’re all as excited as we are here at Blair Candy about the new Mars Chocolate factory on the horizon! It’s important to let ourselves celebrate news of new jobs and industry at every turn, whether it is one new job created, 200 or 2,000. Big changes might not happen overnight, but as long as we’re headed in the right direction, they can and will happen…one candy bar, curling iron, and candle at a time. :)

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