Boyer purchases Clark Bar company

The Clark Bar is coming to Altoona.

Boyer Candy Co. officials announced Thursday they

have “bought the Clark Bar company.”

“We are bringing back the Clark Bar. It started in Pittsburgh in 1917. It is 101 years old. We didn’t want it to disappear,” Boyer President/CEO Anthony Forgione Jr. said.

According to Wikipedia, the Clark Bar is a candy bar consisting of a crispy peanut butter, spun taffy core, originally with a caramel center and coated in milk chocolate, and was the first American “combination” candy bar to achieve nationwide success. Introduced in 1917 and popular during and after both world wars, it was manufactured in Pittsburgh by the original family-owned business until 1955, then by corporate owners until a series of sales and bankruptcies in the 1990s resulted in transfer of production to the Revere, Mass.-based New England Confectionery Co. (Necco). Following Necco’s 2018 bankruptcy and sale, production of Clark Bars ceased.

In May, Necco was sold to Spangler Candy for $18.8 million, but the Clark Bar was not a part of Spangler’s plans.

Forgione is excited about bringing back the Clark Bar.

“The Clark Bar is an iconic Pennsylvania brand. This has been on our radar,” Forgione said.

“From the 1940s through 1980s the Clark Bar was like a fighting sibling to the Mallow Cup in sales. As we continue to grow, we needed a candy bar to add to our product line,” Forgione added. “It looks like a natural fit for us. To bring the Clark Bar to Altoona is very exciting.”

Steve McKnight, president/CEO of Altoona-Blair County Development Corp., called the announcement great news.

“ABCD was not aware of the details of the deal. We were aware that significant restructuring had occurred with the parent company of the Clark Bar earlier this year and that either the entire company or product lines may be open for purchase.

“It would appear that is a great fit for our own Boyer Candies and the dedicated workforce that already produces some famous and delicious product. We look forward to welcoming the Clark Bar back to Pennsylvania and to our local producer here in Blair County. We look forward to assisting as they move towards next steps,” McKnight said.

Previous efforts had been made to bring the Clark Bar to Altoona.

“My father had tried to buy it in 1991. This is a brand my father was passionate about. That is why I know this is the right decision,” Forgione said.

It will take some time before Clark Bars are made at the Altoona plant.

“We are negotiating to get the equipment from Necco in Revere, Mass. We need to truck it down here and get it installed, then we have to learn how to make it,” Forgione said.

“We are chocolate makers and this is hard candy. For us to grow this needed to be done,” he added.

He said it will likely take anywhere from two to six months before production will begin.

“We will start with small batches until we can ramp up production,” Forgione said.

The addition of the Clark Bar will lead to some new jobs, but Forgione isn’t sure how many.

The plant currently employs about 60.

“This solidifies our place as one of the major candy companies in the country that are privately owned,” Forgione said.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.