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For nearly 100 years, the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado, has seen a number of fine candy manufacturers come and go, but Hammond’s Candies is still beloved and very much in business. Enjoy the slideshow below to learn more about our history.
On his first day of high school, a Denver native named Carl T. Hammond, Sr. came home and announced that he didn't need anymore education. 'Fine,' replied his mother, 'but you're not going to lie around the house. Go get a job.' And that's just what he did—he got a job, as an apprentice in a candy factory.
Like so many young men at the time, Carl T. Hammond, Sr. was drafted by the army. He headed off to serve in World War I, and his candy making career was set aside.
Carl T. Hammond, Sr. returned from the war and quickly resumed the career he had started in the candy business, this time apprenticing for another Denver-based factory.
After several years spent learning the candy business, Carl T. Hammond, Sr. founded his own business: Hammond’s Candy Company on Platte River Street in Denver, CO. His entrepreneurial spirit emerged when he was inspired to create his first original candy—Carl’s Honey Ko Kos were chocolates topped with shredded coconut.
During his first few years in business, Carl T. Hammond, St. did it all: He developed recipes, made candy, sold candy, and served as his own office staff. Eventually, he hired someone to manage the store while he traveled the West, selling Hammond’s Candy to other stores.
While the Great Depression brought many challenges for businesses, Hammond’s Candy Company remained profitable. Even during the extremely trying times, people could usually find enough money for the simple, sweet treat of candy. But Carl knew that in order to keep customers, the candy had to be good. His motto was, “Nothing is more important than quality,” and it was his focus on quality that kept Hammond’s modest factory throughout the Great Depression.
In the 1930s, a friend of Carl T. Hammond Sr. invented a bite-sized, soft marshmallow confection surrounded by delicious caramel. Carl loved the product, and he purchased the recipe to produce for Hammond’s, naming it the “Mitchell Sweet” after his friend. The Mitchell Sweet became an instant favorite in the Hammond’s Candy line, and it remains a popular treat today.
Carl’s son, Carl T. (Tom) Hammond, Jr. was discharged from the Navy at the end of World War II. Tom arrived in Denver with his wife, June, and went from Chief Petty Officer to apprentice candy maker. June also learned and joined the thriving family business.
Hammond’s Candy Company moved to a new Denver location, at Bryant Street and West 29th Avenue.
Carl T. Hammond Sr. passed away and his son, Tom Hammond, took over the helm. The business continued to flourish under his direction.
Tom Hammond continued to expand factory operations, purchasing an enrober, a machine used to coat treats in chocolate. Each of Tom’s four sons worked in the business at one time or another, but it was Robin, his only daughter, who chose the candy business as her career.
Robin’s husband, Emery Dorsey IV, joined the business and learned the art of candy making from Tom Hammond.
Tom Hammond passed away, and Emery Dorsey took over the management of the candy factory. With the help of his wife and mother-in-law, June, he carried on the Hammond’s tradition of candy making for another 16 years.
Williams-Sonoma placed an order for hand-pulled lollipops, chocolate-covered toffee, and peppermint pillows, and Hammond’s Candy Company evolved from a local treasure to a national name. All three candy types quickly became bestsellers at Hammond’s many retail locations around the country.
Hammond’s Candies was sold to three veterans of the candy industry, and huge growth followed. Hammond’s went from a small business with 10 employees, to a factory twice as large with over 60 employees. Hammond’s Candies also opened to the public, offering free factory tours and hosting an annual Candy Cane Festival in December.
Hammond’s Candies moved to its current location, a 35,000-square-foot facility, just north of downtown Denver on Washington Street and 58th Avenue.
A group of candy lovers led by Andrew Schuman, current President and CEO, purchased Hammond’s Candies. After taking a close look at Hammond’s, Andy used his specialty retail experience and entrepreneurial zeal, very similar to Carl T. Hammond, Sr. himself, to take the company to the next level.
Within four short years after Andrew Schuman took over, Hammond’s Candies doubled in size and continued to thrive. The company also expanded its offerings into the snack category.
Hammond’s Brands acquired Old Dominion Peanut Company in Norfolk, VA, known for their beloved brittle recipes.
Hammond’s Brands launched Mellow Fluffs, featuring six delicious flavors of snackable marshmallows. At 100 calories or less per serving, the tasty treats delight marshmallow lovers of all ages.
Hammond’s Brands now employees nearly 300 people and welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year! Orders come in daily from retailers including Whole Foods, Nordstrom’s, Dean & Deluca, Cracker Barrel and hundreds of local and regional specialty shops around the world. Our world-famous, handmade candy canes can be found in Canada, England, Spain, Italy, Dubai, Kuwait, Japan, Korea, Israel, and more.