If you’re a candy lover, you may associate the name Heide with Jujyfruits, Jujubes, Red Hot Dollars, Gummi Bears and Mexican Hats. They also manufactured a candy called Chocolate Babies, which were cloyingly sweet like candy corn with a slight chocolate taste. The figural candies had faces that looked more like Tikis than babies. In their earliest days, they manufactured a candy with such an incredibly offensive racist name that I’m not going to include it in this article.
Jujubes in particular sparked my interest in exploring the history of this company. As a young adult, when I worked at Bronson Coles Photography Studios at the Lincoln Village Mall, my coworker and friend Merle turned me on to Jujubes. She told me that they were a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth, but relatively low in calories if you could eat just a couple. I tried eating just a few Jujubes, but my candy eating restraint tactics rarely lasted. To this day, I still love Jujubes and have a bright green t-shirt with the modern Jujubes logo that Jeff bought me.
Trivia: In the 1976 film Taxi Driver Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) buys Chuckles, among other things from the concessions stand at the adult cinema. He tells the concessions girl that he prefers Jujubes because they last longer.
While the original jujube candy dates back to 1709, Henry Heide, founder of Henry Heide, Inc., was responsible for introducing his own unique version to America in the 1920s. The original flavors were lilac, violet, rose, lemon, and spearmint. Today, the flavors are so subtle that I sometimes just refer to them by their colors. The box says: violet, lilac, lime, wild cherry and lemon – I don’t detect violet, but of course, I am used to C. Howard’s violet candies which are distinctly violet in taste.
Henry Heide emigrated from Germany to Pittsburgh in 1866. He ran a retail grocery store in Pittsburgh for two years before moving to NYC. In 1869, Heide started making candy in the basement of 175 Spring Street in what is now Soho. The business prospered and he moved to 58 West Broadway, partnering with Herman Blumensaat as Heide & Blumensaat, which lasted about two years. Seven years later, he moved to much larger quarters at 15 Harrison Street and took on a new partner, Charles Wirtz. Heide & Wirtz moved across the street to 14-16 Harrison in 1884. By 1891, Heide was so successful that he was able to build a plant at 181-183 Franklin Street.
The business grew faster than anticipated and this is when Heide decided to buy eight lots at Hudson and Vandam Streets and build a new nine-story plant in 1896 at 315 Hudson. In 1903, he doubled the floor space and in 1911, built another addition and doubled the space again. These structures were connected by a bridge at Vandam. The 315 Hudson building has been owned by Jack Resnick & Sons since the early 1960s.
The Dean of American Candy Makers and a Philanthropist
In addition to founding his namesake candy company, Heide organized the National Confectioner’s Association. Heide, who was often called the dean of American candy manufacturers, died at his residence, 27 West 69th Street in December 1931 at the age of 85. At the time of his death, he was still president of Henry Heide, Inc. and was survived by four daughters and four sons. In addition to being a highly successful candy manufacturer, Heide was a generous philanthropist and for his charitable pursuits, received special recognition from the Pope. In July 1923, he was made a Knight of the Order of Pius IX and on his 75th birthday, received a special telegram from Benedict XV for his ongoing support of Catholic charities.
Heide operated in Manhattan for 92 years before announcing the decision in August 1961 to move to New Brunswick, N.J. The N.J. plant employed about 300 people and was slated to be completed in July 1962, according to a New York Times article.
Herman L. Heide was the last surviving son when the business moved to N.J. and was chairman of the company until 1963. Herman died at age 80 in January 1968 and was survived by his widow, eight children, 30 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Andrew H. Heide, one of the grandsons of the founder served as president and CEO. Andrew retired in 1992 after serving 60 years at the company his grandfather founded. A resident of Martinsville, N.J., and Manhattan, Andrew died at age 86 in December 1995. Andrew’s son Philip Heide, joined the company in 1964, and was still executive vice president when he sold the company to Hershey Foods Corporation in 1995.
In 2002, Farley’s & Sathers Candy Co., Inc. acquired Heide brand and its products, including Jujyfruits and Jujubes. Farley’s & Sathers merged with Ferrara Pan of Chicago in 2012, forming the Ferrara Candy Company.