The bankrupt candy company known for Valentine’s Day Sweethearts, Necco Wafers and other treats will live on—at least for a little while.
The New England Confectionery Co.—better known as Necco—received an $18.83 million winning bid from Ohio-based Spangler Candy Company during a federal bankruptcy auction this week.
The company says it’s the oldest continuously operated candy maker in the U.S. and traces its origins back to 1847. It’s most famous for Necco Wafers, its signature candy. And while Necco Wafers may not stack up favorably to other, more popular candies, nostalgia runs deep.
When fans found out that Necco was in financial trouble and could lay off its workforce, they scrambled to buy as much of the company’s signature treats as they could. Online candy distributor CandyStore.com said sales of Necco candy surged 50% in March and described it as “panic-buying.”
One customer even tried to trade in her Honda Accord for all the Necco Wafers the retailer had in stock! #SaveNecco trended on social media.
The company, based in Revere, Massachusetts, said it would have to lay off up to 400 employees if Necco didn’t find a buyer. Necco’s future in Massachusetts is uncertain, however, and relocation isn’t out of the question.
The company that bought Necco, Spangler, is based in Ohio. Like Necco, Spangler has a rich history. The company has been around since 1906 and is family-run. It’s best known for Dum Dums lollipops, Saf-T-Pops, circus peanuts and candy canes.
Necco also makes Clark Bars, Sky Bars, Mary Janes and Squirrel Nut Zippers, among other products.