|Industry:||Candy & Confections|
|Headquarters:||South San Francisco, CA|
OverviewThroughout the history of See's Candies, Mary See has symbolized the old-fashioned virtues of homemade quality and friendly service. The spectacled, silver haired woman still smiles with pride from candy boxes shipped throughout the world, and her original recipes are savored by millions to this day.
When Charles See arrived in Los Angeles from Canada in 1921 to try his hand at the confection business, he decided that no image would better reflect the personality of his fledgling venture than that of his mother. Apart from using her recipes as a foundation, See knew that keeping things in the family was the only way to bring about the kind of lovingly crafted product he desired.
See along with his mother and his wife, Florence, opened the first See's Candies shop and kitchen on Western Avenue in Los Angeles in November of 1921. The sparkling clean, black and white shop was designed to resemble Mary See's home kitchen.
Benefiting from the wide acceptance of an unusually high quality candy, See's was able to grow steadily from that first shop in Los Angeles to twelve shops by the mid-1920's and thirty shops during the depression. By 1936, See's was able to expand to San Francisco.
Mary See died in 1939 at the age of 85, but the company's ability to adjust to changing times - without abandoning the passion for quality and service that Mary See represented - kept it going strong throughout the decades to come.
Following World War II, See's Candy Shops grew as California grew, and the See's family continued the tradition, opening up shops throughout the state. In the 50's, See's established itself with the new and growing phenomenon of shopping malls. See's customers continued to recognize the See's Candies product for its quality and taste, and continued to visit See's old-fashioned black and white shops, enjoying a visit to a time past where service was paramount.
In 1972, the See's family sold the company to Berkshire Hathaway Inc., presided over by Chairman Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charles Munger. Utilizing his philosophy of acquiring solid companies where he could follow his "hands off" policy, Warren Buffett installed Charles
Charles Huggins dedicated himself to the continuance of the company he joined in 1951, guiding it with the old-fashioned values set by Charles See until his retirement at the end of 2005.
He is succeeded by current See's President and CEO, Brad Kinstler, a longtime Berkshire Hathaway team member.
Today See's Candies are sold in over two hundred shops throughout the West, a true sign of their enduring popularity. And, to this day, Charles See's living motto, "Quality Without Compromise" continues to guide the company.