Philip Terranova has received a golden ticket.
The owner and CEO of Buffalo-based candy maker SweetWorks has just sold the majority of the company’s stock to a giant Swiss chocolate and gum manufacturer. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Chocolat Frey, a company with 36.8 percent market share in Switzerland, has acquired a majority stake in SweetWorks, a family-owned company located at 3500 Genesee St.
SweetWorks will operate as an independent group of companies, and all its employees and facilities will remain in place, the company said. Terranova will remain at the helm as president.
SweetWorks’ local production plant employs 200. Its subsidiary, Oak Leaf Confections Co. in Toronto, employs about 250.
“Chocolat Frey is making a major commitment to SweetWorks, to our company and to what we are,” Terranova said. “They want to use what we are to access the U.S. market.”
SweetWorks was formed in 2002, when Terranova combined the chocolate company Niagara Candy, which his parents opened in 1956, with his own gum and jawbreaker producer in Ontario, Oak Leaf Confections.
The company sells private-label and branded chocolate and candy to major grocery, drug, dollar, warehouse and specialty retailers, distributors, repackers and vending maching companies in every state, as well as throughout Canada and in 50 other countries. It is one of the world’s largest suppliers of gumballs.
Niagara Candy was known for its chocolate fundraising bars sold by school groups and community organizations to raise money. That arm of the company continues under the Niagara Chocolates brand.
SweetWorks also acquired the well-known Sixlets brand from Hershey in 2003. Sixlets are a retro-style penny candy – tiny, multi-colored, candy-coated, chocolate-flavored beads sold in cellophane tubes. It also licenses Nerds candy from Nestle for use in its gumballs.
Chocolat Frey is a 127-year-old company known for its high-quality chocolate and gum products, as well as its commitment to sustainability efforts, including ethical cocoa farming and energy efficient practices.