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See's Candies logo
See's Candies headquarters on El Camino Real, South San Francisco

See's Candies is a manufacturer and distributor of candy, particularly chocolate, in the western United States. It was founded by Charles See and his mother Mary See in Los Angeles, California, in 1921. The company is now headquartered in South San Francisco, California.[1] It has kitchens at its headquarters and at a second location in Los Angeles, where there is also a retail shop. It also has an office in Carson, California.[2]

The chocolate in See's candies has been provided by the Guittard Chocolate Company since the 1950s; See's and Guittard pioneered the delivery of bulk chocolate in liquid form in tanker trucks in 1959[1].

The company largely markets its products only in its own stores and at those of fellow Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Nebraska Furniture Mart, allowing it to control the standards under which they are stored and marketed. They are also available in some California airports. Since the mid 1990s, the company has also maintained a strong Internet presence via its website. It is also well-known for being one of the very early investments purchased by Warren Buffett (via Blue Chip Stamps) for his Berkshire Hathaway Corporation (in 1972), beginning the path of that company from a textile concern to being one of the world's most successful conglomerates.

See's Candies operates over 200 stores in the following U.S. states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.[3] There are also stores outside the U.S. in Hong Kong, Japan, and Macau.[4] Seasonally — primarily during the year-end holiday shopping season — See's also offers its product in select markets in kiosks at malls and other shopping centers.

A See's Candies store.

Contents

History

According to the corporate website, Charles See arrived in the United States from Canada in 1921[5] with his mother Mary and his wife Florence. They opened the first See's Candies shop and kitchen on Western Avenue in Los Angeles in November 1921. They had twelve shops by the mid-1920s and thirty shops during the Great Depression. In 1936, See's opened a shop in San Francisco. In 1972, the See family sold the company to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Charles N. Huggins became President and CEO through 2006. He was succeeded by Brad Kinstler. In 2004, following the closing of the original Fannie May candy company of Chicago, the See company expanded into the Chicago area, opening a retail/wholesale store in Downers Grove, Illinois. (Fannie May has since reopened some of its stores under new ownership.)

The See family

Charles Alexander See (1882-1949) was born in Canada and came to California in 1919 [6], which conflicts with the website history. He came with his wife, Florence MacLean Wilson (1885-1956) with whom he had three children: Laurance A. See (1912-?), Margaret M. See (1913-?), and Harry W. See (1921-?), who was born after they arrived in the U.S.[7] By 1920, they were living in Pasadena, California and Charles A. See was working as a druggist in a drug store[8]. In both 1920 and 1930, Mary See (1854–1939) was not part of the Charles A. See household.

Laurance A. See's high-profile divorce from his wife Elizabeth in 1962 resulted in a landmark community property opinion, written by Chief Justice Roger J. Traynor of the Supreme Court of California for a unanimous court.[9]

References

Shop in Hong Kong
  1. ^ "About Us." See's Candies. Retrieved on January 18, 2009.
  2. ^ "Contact Us." See's Candies. Retrieved on January 18, 2009.
  3. ^ See's U.S. Shop locations See's Candies. Retrieved on August 11, 2009.
  4. ^ See's International Shop locations See's Candies. Retrieved on November 4, 2009.
  5. ^ See's Candies website
  6. ^ United States Census, 1930; Los Angeles, California
  7. ^ United States Census, 1930; Los Angeles, California
  8. ^ United States Census, 1920; Pasadena, California
  9. ^ See v. See, 64 Cal. 2d 778 (1966).

External links

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