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The Candy Cane Factory

Bobs Candies, an Albany company founded by Bob McCormack in 1919, is the largest manufacturer of striped candy in the world. McCormack was the first manufacturer to wrap his candy in cellophane. The business was successful for decades until a tornado destroyed the building in 1940. McCormack rebuilt it and his grown children helped run the business. His daughter, Dee McCormack, recalls a hook on the factory wall where candy was hung for pulling; a machine does that today. Gregory Keller, great uncle to current president Gregory McCormack, invented a machine for twisting and cutting stick candy in 1952. A year later, he invented a machine to bend it into a cane. The Keller machine revolutionized the business and created a new industry–the commercial manufacture of candy canes. The making of candy canes is shown and McCormack’s grandchildren comment about working at the plant. To prepare enough candy canes for Christmas, they are made 13 months in advance; approximately 3 million candy canes are produced every day.

Teacher tip: Finish the story of Bobs Candies. The company was sold in 2005 and the manufacturing facilities in Albany were closed. Ask students to research and find out what happened to Bobs Candies. There is a sweet ending; Bobs Candy Canes are still available today.