The Hometown Favorites Story

A Mother and Her Favorite Candy

Colleen Chapin, Hometown Favorites Founder

Colleen Chapin,
Hometown Favorites Founder

Hometown Favorites began in Florida in 1996, the result of one candy crazed mother of five, and her ruthless search for Candy Raisins. OK, I am that mother, and the candy wasn’t even for the kids…

Growing up in the 1960’s in Wisconsin, those gummy, ginger-flavored candies were everywhere. First at the corner candy store , later on at the nut shop in the mall or on the checkout counter when I filled up for gas. Point is, they were integral to my childhood, and probably my brain development and personality and extra curly brown hair.

Long story short, I grew up, married a golf nut and followed him to the Golf Capital of the World, Florida. Occasional visits home kept me in Candy Raisin heaven . Until the day my supply ran out and there was no upcoming Wisconsin trip on the radar. I searched relentlessly, finally hunting down and calling the manufacturer (which people did, pre-Google). Why, oh why, Mr. Necco, could I not find these anywhere in Florida?

Necco Candy Raisins

Because they were only distributed regionally. Because they only produced a limited amount. Because no one had ever heard of them beyond Wisconsin. But really, because no one had ever come up with a way to market them beyond these established, geographic borders. Well, well, well. If I could find a way to market these, ship these to Florida and then distribute them to the masses, I could have a direct pipeline to Candy Raisins???

I had to share this concept with neighbors and friends. Although my friends and neighbors didn’t get the Candy Raisins aspect of this (kind of an acquired taste I guess), they were all searching for something – My-T-Fine Pudding, Brer Rabbit Molasses, Spatini Spaghetti Sauce Mix. My fate was set. I would become a food detective and reunite lost foods with lost customers!

Success follows the Dream

The rest is the stuff of “hard to believe” business success. Local news coverage led to Good Morning America led to People Magazine, led to the Goddess of all small businesses – Oprah. Things would never be the same.

By 2001, Hometown Favorites was offering over 2,000 hard-to-find candies, foods and gifts to consumers around the world. It was fun, exciting, and seriously putting a dent in my mommy/wife time. It was time to bring in the big guns. Drayton McLane purchased Hometown Favorites in 2001, and still owns it, a dozen years later.

Back home, I returned to college and earned a degree in Interior Design, particularly handy when my husband and I argue about paint colors. And I would have continued happily down this path had my Candy Raisin source (now Hometown Favorites!) not failed me – Candy Raisins were discontinued in 2008.

As I mourned the demise of this great candy of my youth, the folks at Hometown Favorites were a little in awe of my passion (I think they called it “lunacy”) for foods gone to their grave. They thought, perhaps it was time to reconnect with the gal that started it all.

And so, here I am. But I’m not exactly slipping in the side door. The fall of 2011 found us debuting a fresh, new Hometown Favorites – website, logo, software – with even more “hard to find” favorites. But best of all, you will get the best detective on the planet when it comes to your favorite foods. So search our product pages, read our blog, and peruse the web’s largest database of “discontinued” favorites and then share with us – what’s your “Hometown Favorite”?