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Burgi’s Low-Life Riders Make Things Sweeter for Some of Our Littlest Neighbors

If you live in or near Altoona, PA, home to Blair Candy, chances are good you might be familiar with a group of heart-of-gold bikers that call themselves Burgi’s Low-Life Riders. Looking at their ‘About’ section on Facebook, we get a bit of a background on how they and all they do today came to be. Initially a bunch of people with a common interest, they would get together for group rides in the name of a good time. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with riding for riding’s sake, they decided to kick things up a notch and turn these group rides into charity rides.

Initially their charity rides supported the Railroaders Memorial Museum of Altoona, an institution near and dear to many in our area. But after a few years they “decided to move their mission forward and help support children of central Pennsylvania stricken with serious or debilitating illnesses.” Yeah – they’re basically awesome people doing awesome things for awesome kids. And here at Blair Candy, we get a front-row seat to their rides thanks to our big parking lot!

For the past several years Burgi’s Low-Life Riders have used our parking lot as the starting point for their charity rides. In getting a ride underway, they first find 2 kids in our area whose families could benefit from some help with medical expenses stemming from their treatment. Then, with the help of other caring members of the community, they set out to make their cause more visible by hitting the road riding.

If you would like to be a part of Burgi’s Low-Life Riders next charity ride, please check out their Facebook for more information. And if you would like to donate but can’t attend the ride, please inquire on their Facebook as well for the best way to do so! We also hope you’ll check out the Blair Candy Facebook page for some photos from the last ride. It really is a wonderful thing they’re doing, and we’re happy to be a part of it.

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!

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.

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!

Blair Candy Welcomes our Sweetest Addition Yet – Baby Maya!

We’re accustomed to hearing the Baby Bottle Pop Rattlerz shaking their way into order boxes, but there’s a different kind of rattle making noise at Blair Candy these days – the real kind! Just a few days ago Candy Pam’s Little Princess made an appearance at Blair, and it was the most awwwdorable delivery we’ve ever seen! Baby Maya is the first member of the 5th generation of the Blair Candy family business, and we have a hunch she’ll be a natural. When she visited a few days ago at just a few days old, she showed more than a passing interest in the Lil’ Feet It’s a Girl Candy. To the untrained eye, she may have appeared to just be staring at the box, but we know candy captivation when we see it!

Grandma Pam couldn’t be more pleased with her little bundle of sugar and spice (drops) and everything nice – she really is perfect! She may be a little less than 2 weeks old, but the concensus shows that she is indeed the sweetest addition to our lineup in our 70+ years in business. She won’t be old enough to enjoy any candy for a while, but I did see her eyeing up the Nik L Nips with a twinkle of hope. She doesn’t have any teeth yet, which makes eating candy kinda tricky, but perhaps she could rock a pair of Wax Fangs and show those Bubble Gum Cigars who’s boss? Hmmm…maybe I should check with her parents first.

We hope you’ll join us in giving Maya a warm, wonderful welcome into the world! Many of you have been shopping with us for years and feel like extended family, so it was important that we let you know in 16 years or so there will be a brand new Blair employee around here – a 5th generation-er! Time really does fly when you’re having fun, and we’re happy to say that indeed we are. And we aren’t rushing those 16 years in the least. For now, we couldn’t be more content than to just sit, and watch her, and hold her, and smile. :)

Candy Pam Goes Back To Elementary School…Then Straight To College!

Anyone who knows Blair Candy’s Pam is aware that she’s one smart cookie! But even we were surprised that she was able to climb the academic ladder from 4th grade to college in a week’s time. How did she do it exactly? What’s her late night infomercial secret for these kinds of instant results? It’s rather simple, actually…she drove! We can’t guarantee all the 9 and 10-year-olds of America can zip through 4th through 12th grade that quickly, but Pam wasn’t actually taking classes, she was visiting them.

Her educational journey began at her friends’ 4th grade class, where she chatted with the children about the importance of math, spelling, and even manners. These are all key components to running a successful online store, no matter what you sell. In fact, spelling is even more important for eCommerce store owners than brick and mortar store owners as a misspelling could cost you valuable rankings. After all, a lot more people are looking for Candy Canes than candy cones! Pam also filled the students in on all the candy deliciousness that’s based in Pennsylvania – home to Blair Candy. It’s not every state that can boast being home to Hershey’s, the chocolate magicians behind Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kats, and a host of other tempting treats. She also let them know about Boyer Candy, which is located just a 3-block walk from Blair! You may not be as familiar with Boyer’s name as Hershey’s, but you’re certainly no stranger to their ooey, gooey, oh-so-amazing Mallo Cups. Or Mmmmmallo cups as I like to call them! And Pennsylvania’s candy cred does not end there – we musn’t forget RM Palmer, and Just Born, just to name a few.

After sharing her background in the candy business with the kids, reminding them that no matter what your aspirations in life may be, learning math, reading, writing, science and more is an absolute must, Pam shared something they might have considered even more exciting – candy! In keeping with her lesson plan, she offered up Dum Dums and Smarties, explaining that both are delicious, but it’s better to be a smartie than a dum dum!

Her next trip found her at Elizabethtown College where she was one of several great speakers that day teaching students, faculty, and business owners about the ins and outs of eCommerce. Anyone who runs an eCommerce business knows there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye, from blogging to social media interaction to managing a PPC campaign. These are all key components of a good business plan, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all, particularly if you’re growing your business from brick and mortar to online as well, or even replacing your brick and mortar business. A lot of the same rules apply, but it truly is a whole ‘nother ball game, and Pam was excited to share all she’s learned so others can start on a better playing field from the minute the gates open! As for the candy…well, she didn’t forget! It’s no secret that adults love candy too, and everyone was treated to a seasonal favorite, Reese’s Peanut Butter Trees.

Thanks to Mrs. Z and Mrs. B, and your fantastic 4th grade class, for letting us bring a little Blair into the classroom. And thanks to Elizabethtown College for letting us be a part of your fantastic seminar!

Thank You For Making Us Your Favorite Online Candy Store!

It’s no surprise that Halloween is one of the busiest times of the year here at BlairCandy.com. Each member of our staff puts in their 200% to make sure each order is filled just right and goes out the door in a timely fashion, and oh my, are there a lot of orders! We couldn’t do it without the dedication and hard work of all the friendly faces on our candytastic team, and we’d just like to take a moment to say a big THANK YOU!

Of course, we also wouldn’t be here without YOU – our customers! We’ve been thriving for several generations now, and with us having just made Internet Retailer’s Hot 100 Web Sites of 2011 list, our future is looking pretty sweet, and we’re so excited to see what’s in store for us ahead. We love to hear from our customers, and the great feedback (both the positive and negative!) helps us to improve and make those positive changes that simply make us your go-to online candy store time and time again!

We’re quite the chatty bunch, so always feel free to say hello on our BlairCandy Facebook Page and BlairCandy Twitter – we’d love to hear from you! After all, we’re not just an online candy store – we’re a candy store made up of friendly faces with a penchant for everything candy, and oh, do we know our candy.

Again, thank you to the BlairCandy.com staff for another great Halloween candy season, and to our customers – thank you for helping us continually improve BlairCandy.com and thrive for generations to come!

1970 Brought a Sweet Start for Nomie, Bill and Blair!

It was a year of bell bottoms, The Beatles breaking up, and Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix breaking on through to the other side while Joni Mitchell watched from the screen door as a big yellow taxi pulled away. Looking back at 1970, much of what has shaped our culture, our music, and our collective consciousness was going on swiftly and simultaneously. But as with any year, month, or even day, as monumental moments for our country and world were occurring, so were the more personal moments that make up what truly amounts to who we are, who we meet along the way, and the lives we live every day. And at Blair Candy, while we mourned the loss of Jimi and Janis and made promises to ourselves that we wouldn’t let them pave paradise and put up a parking lot, it was meeting Nomie and Bill that has made the bigger difference in our lives. And we’re happy that they have been as glad to be with Blair as we have been glad to count them among our family.

So who are Nomie and Bill, you may be asking? Two Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup loving members of the Blair Candy team. Two teammates that bring their best game to the field every day. Two teammates that have been have been playing Varsity for…40 years! The day after Nomie Gensamer graduated from high school in 1970 she began her position as Blair Candy’s bookkeeper. And 40 years later, we have some of the best kept books in the business! Needless to say, in that amount of time we’ve called on Nomie for a few other tasks as well, essentially everything but unloading trucks. And for that, we turn to Bill Yoder, who has worked with Blair for 40 years as well. What can we say? We have a pretty awesome place here. Come over to the Blair side…we have candy!

We get to work with Bill and Nomie every day, but chances are you haven’t met them before. So we asked them to share some sweet memories with us so we could share them with all of you. We’d love to hear how your own candy past compares to Bill’s and Nomie’s!

Bill Yoder – Blair Candy Warehouse Manager

While you might think it’s been all goody gumdrops that has kept Bill with Blair for so long, that’s not exactly the truth. In fact, Bill had a very rough start with us, dropping a box of Wrigley’s during his second day on the job, which bounced back hitting him in the face. Many would have likely walked away forever, not letting the warehouse door hit them on their way out! But Bill went to the hospital, received some stitches, and came right back to work. I’m not going to lie – I would have spent the rest of the day on the couch feeling sorry for myself. But it’s precisely this dedication from Bill that we have come to know, respect and appreciate through the years.

Bill remembers the days when a lot of candy arrived unwrapped. Boxes would arrive full of bubble gum and Jawbreakers, which store owners would scoop into tiny brown bags with their hands. Even a few of the candy bars were loose in the box. Baseball cards came packed with a stick of gum, and the Reese’s Cup, his and Nomie’s favorite, was a nickel per pack, with one in each wrapper. A nickel too steep? If you were saving your cents, you could grab a candy bar called Lunch Bar for just 3 cents apiece. And if you wanted to get the longest-lasting treats with your pennies, Dubble Bubble and Bazooka were popular picks. Long before piles of peach rings and gummy hot dogs, Bill was unpacking shoe string licorice and Swedish Fish. The most satisfying sweets on a stick were Tootsie Pops and Saf T Pops. Well…I guess even 40 years later some things haven’t changed. I have yet to see anyone turn down a piece of any of these candies! Bill included. ;)

Nomie Gensamer – Blair Candy Bookkeeper

As the picture above illustrates, years surrounded by candy must do a body good – both Nomie and Bill look far too young to have worked anywhere for 40 years! Nomie’s youthful appearance might be attributed to her staple payday treat – a full box of candy bars to enjoy at home throughout the week. She does note, however, that box used to be just $9, and now runs $28, with smaller candy bars to boot. It is true that candy companies have reduced the size of much of their candy over the years to keep up with inflating prices, but we have to see the half glass full on that end – smaller candy is still candy! Apart from the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Nomie’s favorites include Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum and the gum that used to come with the Beatles Cards in the past. Isn’t it funny how we never forget the smells and tastes of our youth? I still get sent straight back to the 80s when I smell Love’s Baby Soft. :)

Nomie remembers a time when the phone never rang with questions of calories or peanut allergies. A time when the candy manufacturers sent samples for employees to try, something that no longer happens. A time when there was no such thing as Nostalgic Candy, for it was all just beginning with just a few handfuls of treats to choose from compared to the abundance of options today. And while digging through this candy bag of memories, Nomie mentions something that has not only helped our business grow, but also helped make each day a little tastier for everyone – candy has become a staple. What was once a luxury is now enjoyed by anyone who wishes to satisfy their sweet tooth, and that is a very good thing!

Thanks Bill and Nomie for the trip down memory lane. And thanks for all the hard work and heart you’ve invested in Blair Candy. We’re proud that this year marks Blair Candy turning 71, and that we’ve had the pleasure of working with you for 40 of those 71 years. We wouldn’t be who we are without you!

BlairCandy.com Staff Members Take On The Tootsie Pop Challenge

It started out with a spark of curiosity: How many licks does it take to reach the center of a Tootsie Pop? This simple question has been intriguing Tootsie Pop fans since the classic 1970 Tootsie Pop commercial aired. There’s never been a definitive answer, so two of our female BlairCandy team members decided that just didn’t cut it. They wanted to find out how many licks it truly takes to reach that chocolately-delicious center.

We then asked our Twitter.com/CandyPam, Twitter.com/BlairCandy, and BlairCandy Facebook Fans for their guesses on how many licks it would take, with the closest winner receiving a whole 100-ct box of Tootsie Pops! We received over 25 entries, and excitedly kept our social media followers and fans engaged throughout the day. Believe me; the BlairCandy offices were all abuzz for the festivities that would take place later that night.

One of our male staff members decided to give it a go in the afternoon and see for himself how many licks it would take, but by the 20th lick, he bit right into the lollipop – instantly disqualified! Typical! It was up to our two tons-of-fun BlairCandy ladies to set the new standard on how many licks it would take til they reached that chocolate center. To keep it fair, as the size of each Tootsie Pop can vary, as well as the lick swipes you take, we decided to average their total amounts together. Next came deciding on the perfect flavor – Grape for one and Banana for the other!

The time had come. They both took a gulp of water, and started licking their Tootsie Pops. The first 50 licks were a cinch, but their jaws started to twinge a bit as the licks progressed. For the grape lollipop, 50 licks went by…100 licks went by…121, 122, and 123 it was! But oh no! The banana lollipop was a bit of a difficult creation. 100 licks, 200 licks, finally 300 licks and it was called as a win. Average the two ladies together and…

211.5 Licks To Reach The Center Of A Tootsie Pop!

Making our winner…Keith S., who guessed via Facebook that it would take 227.4 Licks! Congratulations Keith, and enjoy your prize of 100 Tootsie Pops!

Our two BlairCandy girls were so excited to receive the following award from Tootsie.com:


It was definitely an event we’ll all remember here at BlairCandy.com, and we’ll certainly keep that healthy dose of curiosity going! After all, don’t settle for what someone else says – find out yourself!

So tell us, will you try the Tootsie Pop challenge? How many licks did it take you?

Blair Candy Is Going Green And Saving You Green!

At Blair Candy, we have been working to improve the eco-friendliness of our business, and we’re excited to announce that a greener Blair is now in full swing. We have always found our French Burnt Peanuts a tastier side of our company than our packing peanuts, but we weren’t sure how to work around their necessity for helping your candy and snacks arrive safely…until now! Planet-friendly packing paper is what you’ll now find inside that box, as well as delicious delights, of course. We do still rely on packing peanuts for a small selection of heavier orders, but our Big Green Paper Packing Machine is now the hardest working piece of equipment in the warehouse, sending 60% recycled paper your way instead of a pile o’ peanuts. And what better holiday to really roll out our new packing material with than St. Patrick’s Day!

Green candy packed with ‘green’ paper…can it get any greener? Actually, it can get less green, by saving you some green! We’re offering 10% off ALL OUR CANDY in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day (and the BGPPM) now through March 1, 2010. The Gummy Candy will seem gummier, the Lollipops lolli-poppier, the Jolly Ranchers even jollier, because saving money on something as fabulous as candy packs some power. And of course, you’ll want to get your hands on the gold at the end of this reduced price rainbow – St. Patrick’s Day Candy! We have Shamrock Bubble Gum Coins, Green Apple Tootsie Frooties, Mean Green Blow Pops, and so much more. The Luck O’ The Irish is with your wallet every click of the way, saving you 10% here, 10% there, 10% candy everywhere! Sorry…I get excited. This *is* sugar and a sale we’re talking about. Who knew green could taste sooooo good?!

Before I go, I’d like to leave you with a favorite Irish saying – “The future is not ours to know, and it may never be – so let us live and give our best and give it lavishly!”. I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that means we should eat more candy.

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