Closers

Pearson’s: Over 100 years of quality confections

The St. Paul-based candy company has carved out a sweet niche in their industry

By Tre’Vonte James
Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Since 1909, Pearson’s has been delivering the finest candy to kids of every age. Pearson’s is responsible for classic candy creations like the Mint Pattie, the Bun Bar, the Nut Goodie, the Bit-O-Honey and their most popular product, the Salted Nut Roll. Surviving two world wars, a Minneapolis to St. Paul factory move and the discontinuation of the Seven Up (another one of their popular candy products), it’s no secret that Pearson’s has withstood the test of time. In most recent years, Pearson’s has been involved in some lively business endeavors. With their FUNergy program, Pearson’s has partnered with sports and recreational programs such as the Loppet Foundation’s annual Cross Country Skiing Festival and the 3M Championship golf tournament.

Michael Keller, Pearson’s CEO and president since 2011, has plenty of experience in the sweets industry, with companies like Jamba Juice, Dairy Queen and Nestle Chocolate Company on his resume. Keller describes the work environment at the facility as one that is full of people who are loyal, devoted, and hard-working (many of whom have been working there for many years). The company puts out over 20 million pounds of candy each year.

“Like most companies, we struggle — in a good way I suppose — with managing the growth,” Keller says. “Making sure our people, systems and processes can keep up with our forward movement is one of our greatest challenges.” Over the past four years, Keller has been able to increase production by more than 100%.

“We always have new products in the works,” Keller says. “There are several we cannot discuss yet, but two are getting close to launch…our new Mint Patties and Coconut Patties Minis (bite sized, unwrapped chocolate/mint and chocolate/coconut pieces in small bags and theater boxes).  They are due out in January and we’re looking forward
to leveraging the trend in ‘poppable minis’.”

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