I’m coming to you live from Bryan, OH. Please, stop cheering. It’s not that exciting.
The rural city of Bryan, OH may not have a lot to offer in terms of rest and relaxation. To be honest, the local hang out for the high school kids is to cause a ruckus at the local Wal-Mart. But when you’re 45 minutes west of Toledo, and 45 minutes east of Fort Wayne, and you’re here for two weeks and don’t own a dairy farm, you have to find something to do so you won’t go insane.
Unfortunately, it took me 11 days to realize that Bryan, OH, as boring as it may be, is home to a Spangler Candy Company, the factory that makes Dum Dum lollipops and other sweet treats!
In 1906, Arthur Spangler bought the Gold Leaf Baking Powder Company for only $450. Doesn’t seem like much, but back then, you had to be a pretty wealthy person to have that kind of loot. Especially to buy a company of your own. After his brothers joined the venture, the name was changed to Spangler Candy Company in 1920 after the decision was made to make candies and sweet treats.
Now, after more than 100 years, this business is the second largest employer in Bryan, OH (the first being the hospital) and still produces over two billion pieces of candy each year. Although now it’s run by non-family management professionals, it still has long-time employees, one of which who has been there for 61 years working on the factory line.
If you’re ever in the area, or taking a cheesy cross-country road trip, make a pit stop in Bryan and take a tour of the factory. It costs just $5 and you get to ride in a little trolley around the factory to learn about the history of Dum Dums, Spangler candy canes and other candies produced by the company.
Unfortunately due to FDA regulations, visitors aren’t allowed in the kitchen area where the the Dums Dums are born, but you do get to ride through the packing area and watch them fall off the conveyor belts into the packages to be boxed up and shipped.
The summer time is their busiest season, which means you should call ahead to make sure they can have a spot for you to take the tour. The tours only last about a half hour and run on the hour. Since it’s winter now when I went to the factory, I didn’t have to call head or anything. It’s a lot slower for them so I was able to walk in and have a private tour…because I was the only person there.
Cutest little trolley ever! Along the tour, as you ride through the various parts of the factory, you’ll take stops to watch videos that show how the candies are made.
I know how jealous you are of my sexy hair net (-_-; Everyone’s required to wear one when on the tour, though. The little old guy who gave me my tour, insisted on a photo so I could “show my family”. Gotta respect those elders, right?
Another downside is that aside from this trolley area and the gift shop, photography is not allowed, which can kind of suck when you’re a photog like myself. But that’s OK. The trolley is cute and more than makes up for it.
Make sure you stop into the gift shop to take a look at the glass cases, which highlight some of the fun candies they’ve discontinued and have other memorabilia. And of course, you can buy lots and lots of Dum Dums and other candies!
I almost bought this. Cream Soda is my favorite Dum Dum flavor and they make candles in various smells (Butterscotch, Chocolate, Cream Soda and Watermelon). However, they cost $12 a pop (no pun intended)
•The Mystery flavor? It’s created during the flavoring process. When they run out of one flavor and start with a new one, the part of the two flavors that blend together..? That’s the mystery flavor. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.
•Dum Dums currently have 25-30 flavors. I thought they had more! Their Quality/Assurance department is always developing new flavors, but a lot of them never make it past the first round of tasting. Can you imagine if your job was to test candy?
•First introduced in 1966, the Dum Dum Drum Man became the mascot and friendly face of Spangler Candy Company. The actual costume didn’t come until 20 years later. I was told that the Spangler men have dressed up as the Drum Man for parades and other public appearances. He’s pretty cute, isn’t it?
It might be silly and lame, but I actually had an OK time. The tour was cheap, interesting and really cute. It sure beats just spending another night watching TV int he hotel room!