Calico Cottage

A business built on quality, integrity, and dedication to our customers.

1957

From Corporate Executive To Entrepreneur

Leonard Wurzel speaking at a podium at Loft Candy Company's 103rd birthday celebration

1957

In 1957, Leonard Wurzel followed in the footsteps of his father, Maurice, and became the president of Loft Candy Company, a Long Island City, New York-based candy manufacturer and retailer. Loft Candy was featured in 21 department stores in 15 states. In 1964, Leonard and several other Loft Candy executives negotiated to purchase the business from its Philadelphia-based holding company. When the deal fell through, Leonard and a number of other Loft executives decided to resign.

1964

Leonard teamed up with Claude Barnett, a well-respected candy technologist to start their own company in order to franchise retail candy shops. They named it Calico Cottage Candies (Barnett sold his interest in 1971). 

1964

Calico Joins A Long Tradition Of Basement Startups.

Leonard Wurzel and Claude Barnett review Calico Cottage store plans
Operating from an 800-square-foot basement in a house in Hewlett, New York, their concept was revolutionary: all the candy would be manufactured at each store, fresh, in full view of the consumer.
Calico Cottage's first storefront location

1969

A New Business Model Works… For A While.

Female employee sitting at the Watchit Maid candy counter in Arlan's

1969

Around 1969, the partners tried a new business model: operating leased candy departments in Arlan’s, a fast-growing mass merchandiser. Operating under the name Watchit Maid, most of the candy was shipped in, but a few items, including fudge, were made on-site. This second business model was a success—until a newcomer to the mass merchandise field, K-Mart, crushed Arlan’s and almost took down Calico.

1971

Calico’s Fudge Retailing Solutions Is Created

Two women conversing with an employee at the candy and ice cream counter in a Marshall Field department store
After the closure of Arlans’, Leonard reinvented the business a third time. This is when Leonard created the Retail Solutions Program that has kept Calico, and its customers growing and profitting since 1971. The company would target existing retailers, helping them to sell fudge year-round by using Calico’s profitable Fresh Fudge Made On-Site Retail Program. As with any new concept, Leonard had to work hard to find retailers willing to try it out. A chance meeting on an escalator paved the way for the prestigious, Chicago-based Marshall Field department store to adopt Calico’s fudge retailing program. This was a critical turning point in that doing business with Marshall Field brought credibility to tiny Calico Cottage.

1974

Trade Shows Help Calico’s Fudge Program Catch On.

A smiling Mark Wurzel standing next to his fudge kettle display at a trade show

1974

In 1974 Mark Wurzel joined his father in the family business and extended the Calico reach by extending their efforts to include exhibiting at trade shows. Trade Shows were an effective way to introduce forward-thinking retailers a way to differentiate themselves from the competition.

1977

Larry Wurzel,  Leonard’s younger son, joined the team and brought onboard a wealth of innovation and creativity.  Larry expanded Calico’s flavor options, created and tested new recipes, and developed the packaging and merchandizing initiatives.

1977

Larry Wurzel Joins The Team

Larry Wurzel holding up a slab of fudge decorated as an American flag

1980s

Calico Expands!

Calico Cottage's new warehouse location in Mineola, New York

1980s

In 1980, Calico and its 12 employees moved out of its basement location and into 10,000 square feet in Mineola, New York. Coming from 800 square feet in a basement, Leonard said “We’ll never outgrow this.” In 1988, with 35 employees, Calico added an additional 5,500 square feet.

1992

Leonard retired from Calico in 1992 and his sons took over. Mark, who had been with the company since 1974, became President and Larry, who had been with Calico since 1977, became Vice President.

1992

A New Generation Takes Charge Of Calico

Mark and Larry Wurzel pose for a photo together after becoming Calico Cottage executives

1999

Calico Expands Again With A New State-Of-The-Art Headquarters

Mark Wurzel sits proudly outside of Calico Cottage's new headquarters in Amityville, New York
In 1999 Calico built it’s current state-of-the-art 45,000 square foot facility in Amityville, NY. The entire New York based Calico family works at this location… from sales and marketing to manufacturing and shipping, from accounting and development to logistics and operations. This is Calico Cottage’s home.

2008

A Third Generation Wurzel Joins The Calico Family

Max Wurzel sits at his desk after joining the family business

2008

The Company celebrated its founder’s 90th birthday and warmly welcomed the third generation of Wurzels into the fold. Mark’s son, Max, joined the team as a Sales Consultant before doing a rotation in fudge mix production, receiving, and purchasing. Currently, Max is the Supply Chain Manager, directing Calico’s purchasing strategies and logistics management.

2014

Calico celebrated its 50th Anniversary and introduced grab-n-go fudge retailing solutions. As a completely unique retail category, grocery and convenience stores have the opportunity to showcase and sell award-winning fudge with minimal-to-no labor involved.

2014

A Milestone And More Innovation

Rows of neatly packaged fresh fudge sit on a countertop

2015

Candy Hall Of Fame

Leonard Wurzel is inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame

2015

Leonard Wurzel, Calico’s founder and confectionery industry pioneer, was posthumously inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame on October 24, 2015. Leonard was recognized for giving back to the industry and supporting its betterment during his career, as well as for his social and civic dedication.

2017

In the continual quest to exceed quality and safety expectations, Calico Cottage obtained SQF Food Safety Code for Manufacturing Certification exceeding the most rigorous food safety standards. Calico Cottage also achieved a rating of “Excellent” from National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International, an independent public health and safety organization.

2017

Calico Gets Food Safety Certified

Safe Quality Food logo in blue

TODAY & TOMORROW

A member of the Calico Cottage fudge retail program poses in front of a fudge display case
Calico continues to evolve and focus on the needs of its retailers. Calico’s commitment  to customers remains at the forefront, focusing on providing new and exciting insights and tools to help retailers increase sales and profits, and grow their businesses.  Calico is a business solutions provider, as much as a fudge and nuts innovator. The support, partnership, ingenuity, and quality are some of the fundamentals that make up the Calico Difference and set Calico apart from competition. 
A batch of roasted pecans cooling on a tray
Calico will continue to lead the industry in innovation and quality by developing new products and solutions, while staying ahead of the retail curve.  The roadmap of Calico’s future is full of new and exciting initiatives focused on growing retailing opportunities, offerings, and profit margins. Calico will be one of the driving forces of success in the ever-changing retail landscape.
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