Most family businesses last for two, maybe three generations but it is rare to find one that spans five. That was the case with the “Heide Candy Company” founded in 1869 by a German immigrant, Henry Heide, Sr. Like most who came to America seeking a new life of liberty and the pursuit of happiness, Henry Heide found that in New York City, and manufactured confectionery products under the nationally recognized brands of: “JujyFruits”, “Jujubes”, “Chocolate Flavored Babies”, “Mexican Hats” and “Red Hot Dollars” to name just a few.
His devotion to his trade enabled him to bring four of his sons into the business and in turn their sons, great grandsons, nephews, nieces and cousins who continued to develop and expand the business. That span of time saw them through world wars, the great depression, post war expansion and the digital age of the internet. Through it all, the family maintained its sole ownership and passed that control down from generation to generation. The number of family shareholders grew and grew way beyond the founders’ expectations. As a result, contention developed between the “insiders”, those who ran the business and the “outsiders” those that did not. When that dissension began to affect the senior management, the business’ strategic direction faltered and they began to lose market share.
As a member of the fourth generation, I was elected to the Board of Directors and eventual Chairman. I was able through the recruitment of a new Board of Directors comprised mostly of outside industry professionals to effect change. The cornerstone was the development and execution of a strategic plan which addressed the various family issues while restoring the business to a leading position in its industry category. This eventually led to the successful sale of Henry Heide, Inc. to the Hershey Foods Company.
As my good friend Judy Heft and I believe, successful outcomes don’t happen by accident. They require careful, considerate, well thought out planning, encompassing a variety of professionals to insure the desired objectives. We encourage you to reach out to us whether it be a personal financial or business matter. Thank you, Tom Heide…..