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Published: Saturday, 5/8/2004

Dum Dums, Chupa Chups team up

Dum Dums and other Spangler products soon will be marketed in Mexico through the new distribution alliance. Dum Dums and other Spangler products soon will be marketed in Mexico through the new distribution alliance.

Dum Dums, the lollipops from northwest Ohio that have a drummer man for a mascot and are adored by youngsters, are teaming up with Chupa Chups, Spanish pops with a daisy logo designed by Salvador Dali and enjoyed by a slightly older crowd.

Spangler Candy Co. of Bryan and Chupa Chups SA of Barcelona announced yesterday that they are forming a North American distribution alliance for various candy products beginning on July 1. Spangler will lead the way in the United States and already has hired a half-dozen people; Chupa Chups - which has the world's best-selling lollipop - will manage efforts in Mexico.

The move is the latest tactic by Spangler, a private firm with more than $60 million in annual sales, to drum up more business.

The alliance could add revenues of $10 million to $20 million a year to the private company, which hopefully will get a sales boost for its own products, said Dean L. Spangler, president and chief executive of the Williams County firm.

U.S. candy manufacturers are confronted by retailers who prefer ordering an array of goods from one company, staggering sugar prices, and high labor costs, all of which encourages alliances among firms with complementary products, Mr. Spangler said.

"It's pretty challenging, and that's why you're seeing more out-of-the-box relationships being formed," he said.

Mr. Spangler said the deal involves neither money nor equity changing hands.

In the United States alone, the alliance will give Spangler more candy lines to sell while providing Chupa Chups with a well-run distribution system, said Susan Smith, a spokesman for the National Confectioners Association in Vienna, Va.

Distribution alliances have become more common in the last few years among U.S. companies and foreign counterparts, or even with noncandy partners, she said.

Spangler, which co-manages a Mexican factory to make some of its candy canes, will integrate Chupa Chups Lollipops, SMINT Sugar Free Mints, Crazy Dips, Whistle Pops, and the Spanish company's new sugar-free Cremosa lollipops into its lineup.

Chupa Chups - pronounced "choopa choops" and derived from a Spanish verb meaning to "suck" or "lick" - will add Dum Dum Pops, Spangler Candy Canes. Safe-T-Pops, and Astro-Pops to its Mexican offer

ings and market some Spangler items in other countries worldwide.

The duo plan to eventually coordinate manufacturing efforts in the United States, Mexico, Russia, and Spain when appropriate, Mr. Spangler said.

The Spangler factory, for example, could make the Cremosa lollipops, which will contain no carbohydrates from sugar, if sales of the product take off, he said.

Bill Lichtenwald, president of Teamsters Local 20, which represents nearly 300 hourly workers at the factory, said the alliance eventually could increase sales of Bryan-made Dum Dums, candy canes, and other Sprangler products in Europe.

"Hopefully, the longer-term effect will be an increase in jobs," he said.

Both companies are long-time family businesses, and the alliance will provide benefits to each, Xavier Bernat, chairman of Chupa Chups, said in a statement yesterday.

The firms started negotiating a pact two years ago, and both are committed to the candy industry, Mr. Spangler said. "That's why we feel so comfortable," he said.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:


or 419-724-6087.

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