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Local sweets expert on TV

Blair Candy owner to appear on panel for CNBC segment

May 18, 2008
By Amanda Clegg,
Local candy company co-owner Pam Macharola will get a chance to share her knowledge of sweets on national television Monday.

Producers of the CNBC show “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” asked Macharola — part owner of Blair Candy Co. at 1215 Seventh Ave. — to appear on a segment of the show called “One Minute to Millions.” The show is filmed in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

The segment places a budding entrepreneur in front of a panel that offers feedback on whether a product could make millions for its creator.

Deutsch asks panel members their opinions on the name, price, target audience and packaging and whether the product is a big idea.

Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kevin Nealon; Brian Pipa, who writes the blog at; and Macharola will evaluate the potential for a candy called CrackHeads.

John Osmanski, 27, of Milwaukee is owner of Osmanium, which creates CrackHeads — white and dark chocolate-covered espresso beans.

The candy is the only product sold on the company’s Web site at Three packs of the candy cost $6, or about $20 for a display tray of 12 boxes.

Osmanski said the name is intended to be funny.

“We’re not marketing it as an alternative to narcotics,” he said.

While pursuing his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, Osmanski read a book about ways to pay for college. One of the book’s suggestions was to sell candy at local fairs.

He came up with the name after calling his friends crackheads in jest.

“I’d like to buy a product called CrackHeads,” he said. “It’s a humorous thing.”

The candy’s catchphrase of “Everybody’s addicted to something” is also meant in good humor.

“We’re all goofy in some way,” Osmanski said of the attention-grabbing line.

Macharola would not give her opinion of the candy because the show hasn’t aired but said she is allowed to give her honest opinion on the show.

A family-owned and operated business for 70 years, Blair Candy Company is run by a third generation of the Dandrea family, according to its Web site at Macharola is one of four owners and has about 28 years in the business.

“I do know candy,” she said.

Macharola’s cousin Bill Ajay said she is a candy expert.

“She knows her stuff,” he said.

The program airs at 10 p.m. Monday on CNBC.

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