Candy company closes

By Walt Frank

A long-time Altoona business has closed its doors.

McIntyre’s Candies ceased business operations as of April 19, said Donald Ruggery Jr., who has been operating the candy business.

In January, the Ruggery family – Donald Sr., Donald Jr. and John “Jay”, announced they were putting the business up for sale.

The Ruggerys were asking $300,000 for the business, which included a 3,000-square-foot manufacturing space; retail stores at 1419 11th Ave. and 3506 Sixth Ave.; a fully functioning and up-to-date e-commerce site; corporate gift and fundraising programs; a line of private label and wholesale products; and the candy making equipment.

“We did not receive any offers for the business that made sense. We can sell the equipment for more than what we were offered for the whole business. We had two offers, but neither was acceptable,” Ruggery said.

In January 2005, the Ruggerys purchased the business from Jack and Barbara Ray, the daughter of Thelma McIntyre, who founded the business in 1948.

Joe Hurd, president and CEO of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce, said he was disappointed to learn of the closing.

“I think the Ruggerys certainly made a great run at building the business, and it was better than it was when they bought it. It has been very much of a grind for Don Ruggery Jr., to build and maintain the business in an industry that is pretty tough and competitive,” Hurd said. “If they’ve closed the business they were absolutely sure, to continue it and try to move forward was not a practical thing, they put their heart and soul into it.”

The decision to close the business was difficult.

“It was the toughest decision. I put nine years of my life, sweat and tears into the business. We just didn’t win enough votes from the local consumers,” Ruggery said. “We bought a business that was 100 percent reliant on local retail sales. I am proud of how we grew the private label and wholesale business, but we couldn’t grow them fast enough to make up for the erosion of local retail traffic. The last three holidays we saw a decline in retail sales over the previous year.”

Ruggery said he still has candy left for private label customers, but the retail stores and Internet business are closed.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.