NECCO Wafers maker at risk of going out of business; candy stores react

CHICAGO (WLS) -- NECCO Wafers predate the Civil War. But now, the company that makes them, The New England Confectionery Company, may go out of business according to published reports, meaning its famed wafers could disappear from candy shelves for good.

"To this day I still love them... I think of growing up," said Terese McDonald, a candy enthusiast and owner of Chicago-based Candyality stores.

For all the NECCO Wafer enthusiasts, there are plenty who revile the 171-year-old candy for its dry and at the same time mouthwatering appeal.

But even if you're not a fan of the NECCO Wafer, some of your favorite treats might be in jeopardy. Sweethearts (the candy hearts with messages written on them), Clark Bars, Candy Buttons, Slap Stix and Sky Bars are among the other goodies that may not be around for long.

The wafers have a special tie to Chicago, since "people used to use those as slugs instead of real coins in the toll booths," recalled McDonald with a laugh.

But plenty have been eaten too. McDonald's determined to keep the sugar rush going at Candyality, ordering four times her normal inventory of NECCO products to keep up with rising demand.

Chicagoland isn't the only area feeling the impact. The Boston Globe reported one woman asked candy wholesaler to turn over all of its stock in exchange for her 2003 Honda Accord.

"You can put them in a dark closet and they'll last forever," promised McDonald, though she's hoping it won't come to hoarding these now endangered treats.

"I really, truly believe a true candy lover is going to come and save the day for all of us in America," she added.
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