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Policyholder Spotlight: Hammond’s Candies

February 12, 2024
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Owner: Andrew Schuman

Company type: Candymaker

Headquarters: Denver

Employees: 200

Started: 1920

“After a century in the candy-making business, Hammond’s Candies is still just warming up."

We’re proud that this iconic Colorado company chooses Pinnacol to protect their business and employees.

Handmade modern at Hammond’s Candies

Imagine this: You’re in line to buy a light bulb at the hardware store when something colorful catches your eye. It conveys nostalgia, but also something new and fresh. It’s a Hammonds candy bar, and you immediately realize that you need it

That’s just part of the genius behind Denver-based Hammond’s Candies, a 104-year-old company that combines traditional techniques with modern flavors and business strategy. 

Growing with the customer

Andrew Schuman, the owner of Hammond’s since 2007, acknowledges the challenge of honoring the past while evolving the business. 

“It’s all about knowing the customer,” Andrew says. “We research the trends and move fast to design products around customer desires.” 

But the Hammond's team knows that nostalgia sells, especially during the holidays when the company’s colorful, old-fashioned candies are a tradition for many families. 

“We use the same recipes for our holiday products, and the assorted candy mix is the same,” says Marketing Director Lori Schuman. “Then we work to make our packaging feel fresh while retaining a classic feel.

Opportunistic distribution

It’s tempting to assume great candy sells itself, but Hammond’s has taken advantage of timely strategic opportunities to expand into flagship retailers and dozens of countries.

“The candy industry has grown in recent years, and we’ve grown with it,” Andrew said. “People always need to eat, and we’re ready to offer them indulgent snacks.”

Hammond’s has grown beyond the grocery store into hardware outlets and kitchen supply stores. They found that when supply chain issues leave store shelves empty, those stores are willing to fill space with gourmet foods. And when people rein in spending on high-end products like tech or outdoor gear, they’re still willing to splurge for a high-end treat. 

“We’re not everything to everybody,” said Andrew. “But we have enough variety in our products that a couple of items are a good fit for nearly every kind of retail outlet.”

“We are the last and largest of handmade candymakers in the country." 

Treating its employees 

Like most employers in Colorado, Hammond’s faces an acute labor shortage. Because the product is handmade, labor costs hit the company particularly hard. Yet finding employees willing to learn is critical. 

“Our head cooks were trained by the Hammond family,” Lori says. “Those experienced cooks pass their skills on to the new cooks, same as always. It takes time to master each product.”

Working in a candy factory like Hammond’s has its perks, beyond the sweet product. An open culture, flexibility, and a family feel are powerful incentives. In fact, eight Hammond’s employees have been with the company for more than 20 years. 

Tradition with a twist

A point of pride for Hammond’s is how little the work has changed over the years. Much of the equipment used in the company’s kitchen is more than 50 years old. 

That’s not to say they haven’t made small tweaks to protect their employees and customers. Hammond’s has motorized much of the production equipment that used to be hand-cranked, which reduces strain injuries. And the circa-1920 copper kettle in the kitchen? It’s now equipped with a sensor to make sure there’s no metal in the product.

A front-row seat for Coloradans

Hammond’s invests in the Mile High City and beyond through monthly donations to meaningful organizations, like local schools, churches and businesses. 

But the company’s most beloved contribution to the community is it’s factory tours. More than 100,000 visitors take the free tour every year, including families, school groups and even retirement home field trips. 

Pinnacol Assurance assumes no responsibility for management or control of customer safety activities. Please ensure your business meets the requirements of all federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances related to workplace safety.

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