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The Candy Man

Rob Auerbach, founder of Louisville-based Candyrific, knows what kids want.

John Loomis

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Rob Auerbach knows what kids want. Candyrific, his Louisville-based company, manufactures sweets in attention-grabbing packages that often feature plastic cartoon characters, battery-operated fans, flashing lights, or other doodads. The candies are sold by many large retailers, including Walmart and Target. Candyrific took in $33.9 million in 2010, making the Inc. 5000 (No. 2,353) for the sixth year in a row.

Last year was a great year for us. Our sales reached $50 million. About 70,000 of our products are sold somewhere in the world each day.

This spring, we're launching a new product. I noticed that checkout lines all had something like a Rice Krispies treat. So I bought a license from Just Born, the maker of Peeps, and we created cereal treats with candy sprinkles. We have hundreds of these kinds of licenses.

It's a bit of a guessing game when it comes to picking which brands will sell well as candy. Some titles, like Star Wars, will always sell well. Others have a shorter shelf life. We knew our Madagascar candy would move only during the film's release.

We just created a new Scooby-Doo item. It's a tube of candy topped with Scooby's head. Shake it, and Scooby talks. We actually hired the guy who does Scooby's voice for the cartoons.

One big recent move was expanding overseas. It was the scariest and best decision I've made in two years. International sales are now 35 percent of our business. American culture is exported to the world, so there's a demand for our products. I can't wait to see how Scooby sells in Kuwait.

Last updated: Apr 3, 2012




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