If you look into any Halloween bag, chances are you’ll see a roll of Smarties candy among the trick-or-treat goodies.
Smarties were created 67 years ago when English immigrant Edward Dee founded Ce De Candy, Inc. in Bloomfield and set about catering to America’s sweet tooth. “I came to the United States to open a candy factory,” says Edward, 92, the son of a candy-making family. “I got started with two tablet machines, two wrapping machines and five employees.”
The Cambridge University graduate named his candy Smarties to encourage people to pursue education. Sons Jonathan and Michael joined the business in the 1970s.
“It started out as a job,” says Michael, “but somewhere along the way, we began to see ourselves as responsible for an icon.”
In 2011, Ce De Candy, Inc. became Smarties Candy Company. It has been based in the same Union facility for 49 years. Now chairman of the board, Edward leaves day-to-day operations to granddaughters Liz Dee, Sarah Dee and Jessica Dee Sawyer. But that doesn’t mean Edward is resting on his sweet laurels. “He still comes into the office nearly every day,” says Liz.
The third generation has “modernized the business,” says Sarah. But the ingredients in Smarties have for the most part remained the same. “The experience that your grandparents had eating Smarties,” says Liz, “is the same as the experience that you would have today.”
Original Smarties come in six fruity flavors and colors. There are also three newer varieties: X-Treme Sour, Tropical and Smarties ’n Creme.
As for the future, Jessica, who has a daughter and a newborn son, says she hopes Smarties will someday be a fourth-generation business.Click here to leave a comment