Necco (or NECCO), pronounced "neck-o", is the acronym for the New England Confectionery Company, a manufacturer of candy. It was created in 1901, by the merger of several small confectionery companies located in the Greater Boston area.
Since December 2007, Necco has been owned by American Capital, a corporate raider company.
The company, considered the "oldest continuously operating candy company in the United States,"is best known for its namesake candy, Necco Wafers, its seasonal Sweethearts Conversation Hearts and brands such as the Clark Bar and Haviland Thin Mints.
In fall 2010, Necco produced its one trillionth Necco Wafer candy.
Necco dates its origins to Chase and Company, a company founded by brothers Oliver R. and Silas Edwin Chase in 1847. Having previously invented and patented the first American candy machine, the Chase brothers continued to design and create machinery that made assortments of candies, such as their popular sugar wafers.
Two other confectionery companies, Ball and Forbes, founded by confectioner Daniel Forbes in 1848 and Bird, Wright and Company, a confectionery company based in Boston and founded in 1856, joined forces with Chase and Company in 1901 to become the three members of the original Necco family.
The three confectionery firms then moved into a newly constructed manufacturing plant in Boston, Massachusetts one year later and become the largest establishment devoted entirely to confectionery production in the United States.Success prompted the company, in 1906, to introduce a profit sharing plan.
Necco continued its production while the confectionery industry continued to boom through the turn of the century. Around the same time, businessman David L. Clark, began experimenting with his own candy creations in his home outside of Pittsburgh, PA. He began selling the Clark candy bar for five cents and shipping his creation to soldiers fighting in World War I. At the same time, Charles Miller started a business manufacturing and selling homemade candy in the Boston area. Clark's creation and Miller's Mary Jane quickly become two of the most popular candy creations in the country.Former Necco factory on Mass. Ave., featuring a water tower painted to look like a roll of Necco Wafers.
In 1927, Necco moved into a new factory on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, which was then the largest factory in the world devoted entirely to candy.
Necco continued its dominance of the candy-manufacturing business through much of the first half of the 20th century. In 1942, the U.S. Government requisitioned a "major portion of the production of the wafers during World War II since the candy doesn't melt and is 'practically indestructible' during transit," This continued until 1945.
Necco, still a family-run business in 1963 but having financial problems, was acquired by United Industrial Syndicate of New York. In 1978, after several reorganizations and seven company presidents, Domenic Antonellis was named its CEO, a role he would play for nearly 30 years.Necco's Sweethearts as of 2011.
From the end of the war through the 1990s, Necco continued to acquire small candy companies throughout the United States and Europe, and with those companies, the rights to manufacture their trademarked candy bars. Wisconsin's Stark Candy Company, which was founded in 1937, was acquired in 1988.
The acquisition of Stark's Sweethearts, combined with Necco's existing Sweet Talk line of candies made Necco the leading manufacturer of candy "conversation" hearts. In 1999, Pittsburgh-based Clark Bar America, Inc. were purchased, and by 2000 the company had 1200 employees.
In 2003, Necco consolidated its facilities to share a 52-acre (210,000 m2), 810,000-square-foot (75,000 m2) Revere, Massachusetts, plant and warehouse, where its international headquarters resides to this day. The site employed more than 700 workers.
In April 2004, the Necco building at 250 Massachusetts Ave in Cambridge was occupied by the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. The water tower was redesigned, with a double helix to represent the biomedical research being performed within. By 2005, the company's annual revenue was around $100 million, a level it was to remain at for several years.
In December 2007, a buyout of Necco was orchestrated by the private equity fund American Capital Strategies (in partnership with Clear Creek Capital and Domenic Antonellis, the company's CEO.
Necco announced the closure of its Pewaukee, Wisconsin plant in March 2008.
In August 2008, Necco replaced its CEO with Richard Krause, a former Procter & Gamble executive, who in February 2009 announced plans to "expand its brand now in the U.S. so it can expand globally later", aiming for a 30% growth in revenue by 2011.
In November 2010, Necco was listed for sale with a New York broker, though by February 2011 American Capital announced the sale was off for the time being. The news that the company was not for sale was accompanied by reports that the company had supplied the city of Revere with five-year's worth of overdue reports required as part of a tax increment financing (TIF) deal the company had received from the city; those reports "seemed to indicate that Necco has—for several years—not created the jobs they promised in the TIF agreement"; as of March 2011 Necco employs 483 people, including 30 Revere residents.
The company's failure to meet the terms of its TIF agreement led the Massachusetts' Economic Assistance Coordinating Council to decertify Necco's participation in the economic development program that administers the agreement.
With the support of Revere's mayor, the City Council voted to maintain the tax break, which saves the company $300,000, reducing their annual property taxes to $750,000. Miles Arnone, a managing director of American Capital, gave one of the councillors an "unprecedented verbal beating" over the issue and over being forced to talk about Necco's health "when you're down 30 percent"; the public exposure of the issue was raising concerns from large customers of Necco such as CVS Pharmacy and Target.