CEO Pat Egan joined See’s Candies just a few years in the past, in 2018, however he brings to the job a lifetime of expertise as a See’s buyer. As such, he doesn’t take his place as keeper of the Mary See’s flame frivolously, particularly because the Bay Space-based firm marks its a hundredth 12 months. We requested him about every little thing from the nostalgia issue to COVID-19 challenges to sweet preferences. Right here’s an edited model of that dialogue:
Q: How lengthy have you ever been consuming See’s Candies?
A: I’ve been a See’s fan for so long as I can keep in mind. I used to be born in San Francisco and grew up in San Mateo, so our Hillsdale Mall location was my house retailer as a child.
I’ve all the time had a candy tooth, and I’ve all the time had a reasonably crucial eye for high quality. After I began working for a Berkshire Hathaway firm over 15 years in the past, you’re feeling a delight in being related to such an iconic and beloved model. And after I had the chance three years in the past to return help our centennial and put together for the subsequent century, I couldn’t go it up.
What I’d add is that I’ve realized a lot since I’ve been right here. The typical tenure of our year-round workers is nearly twenty years — common! I’ve grown to admire our individuals and the method we use to make and ship the very best sweet on the planet.
Q: How has the nostalgic feel and look of See’s labored to your benefit? Few firms dare to keep up that for even a number of a long time, a lot much less so long as See’s has.
A: Our retailers are impressed by Mary See’s precise kitchen in Pasadena. Whenever you step into one in all our retailers, it’s virtually like time travelling again to 1921. Most recognizable is our iconic black-and-white checkerboard flooring. The See’s uniform that our store associates put on has additionally stayed virtually an identical to our first uniforms from 100 years in the past.
We’ve made a number of fashionable touches however have stayed true to our roots. I feel our clients love the concept that they’re having the identical expertise as their grandparents and great-grandparents had when buying at See’s.
Q: What’s remained the identical, product-wise, over the previous century?
A: We truly nonetheless use lots of the similar components — most of them from California suppliers and growers and all of them with no added preservatives. We nonetheless use lots of Mary’s unique recipes.
Q: What sort of adjustments are you making to face the present challenges?
A: The most important present change is the large progress in house deliveries and discovering methods to fulfill that buyer demand. We launched DoorDash final 12 months, in addition to Click on, Decide & Go, which permits clients to order on-line and are available to a retailer to choose up. I would like our e-commerce buyer expertise to be higher than any common expertise in the identical approach our retail retailers are superior.
Q: You’re nonetheless opening new brick-and-mortar retailers. What’s your technique?
A: We discover the in-shop expertise is invaluable to our clients. I truly don’t purchase that retail is on its approach out. What’s out is stale and impersonal retail. We have now clients who are available in each week for a field of their favorites – curating their customized combine with a store affiliate they’ve recognized for many years. Our in-store expertise is one thing our clients search, and we’re going to proceed to be sure that is the case.
Q: What goes into the choices so as to add or drop candies from the lineup?
A: We take a look at introducing new items the identical approach we take a look at opening a retailer. After we commit, we wish it to achieve success and to by no means have to show again. I don’t know that we’ve ever had a failed piece, however the fact is that there’s solely a lot actual property in our retailers, and solely a lot capability in our factories
On the finish of the day, it’s actually all about what our clients need and what we hear from them. We take our clients’ suggestions critically — a lot in order that we requested them what our November Restricted Time Candy ought to be and we narrowed it all the way down to: Cheesecake Truffle, Espresso Scotchmallow, Cranberry Truffle and Neapolitan Cream. Keep tuned to seek out out which piece will go into manufacturing.
Q: The Marshmint made a seasonal comeback. Have you ever introduced again different discontinued alternatives?
A: We have now! After I consider one thing being introduced again by in style demand, Almond Sq. involves thoughts instantly. I had by no means learn a lot buyer suggestions. Now it’s again completely — the individuals have spoken! Different items introduced again embrace Darkish Pecan Buds, Double Caramel and Darkish California Brittle.
Q: Folks both love or detest the Nuts & Chews assortment. What are your ideas?
A: One of many many issues that makes See’s so nice, is that there’s really one thing for everybody. For those who don’t like nuts, then our Traditional Assortment and even Smooth Facilities is perhaps the right field for you. That stated, Nuts & Chews is nearly all the time the highest vendor amongst our common 1-pound choices.
Q: What’s your favourite piece?
A: That’s like choosing a favourite little one! My favorites have a tendency to alter however one for some time has been our Kona Mocha after which not too long ago, our Chocolate Espresso Beans in partnership with Peet’s Espresso and Guittard Chocolate. I really like our coffee-flavored candies. But when I needed to choose only one, it might be the Darkish Chocolate Peanut Butter Coronary heart as a result of it was the primary piece I had a hand in making right here.
Q: A century from now, will the retailers nonetheless be a nostalgic black-and-white and can clients nonetheless get a free pattern with their buy?
A: What an incredible query. Quick reply is, sure and sure. In all honesty, what has made See’s thrive for 100 years is the care we take for our clients each time they enter our retailers. We’re proud that our clients are reminded of the sensation they’d coming in once they have been little and after going buying with mother and pop, they’d come into See’s for a free pattern and a smile. It’s what makes See’s, See’s.
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