Company behind iconic candies like Necco Wafers, Sweethearts, Clark Bars may shut down

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The company best known for Necco Wafers, Sweethearts and candy buttons may cease operations next month unless it finds a buyer.

According to the Wall Street Journal, New England Confectionery Co.—better known to most of the world as Necco—is desperate to find a buyer. The company’s CEO said in March that Necco would have to lay off the majority of its workforce—nearly 400 workers—if it can’t find a new owner, according to the Boston Globe.

The company is the oldest continuously operated candy maker in the U.S. and traces its origins back to 1847. It’s most famous for Necco Wafers, its signature candy. And while Necco Wafers may not stack up favorably to other, more popular candies, nostalgia runs deep.

America truly has a love-hate relationship with the wafers. The Wall Street Journal’s headline reads, “For Candy Fans, the Only Thing Worse Than Necco Wafers Is No Necco Wafers.”

In fact, the candy has been described as “tropical drywall” and “plaster surprise,” according to the Wall Street Journal. But the March announcement of possible layoffs at the Revere, Massachusetts, plant has sparked a “run” on the company’s candy.

Online candy distributor CandyStore.com said people are “panic-buying” Necco candy in bulk. Sales of Necco’s products were up 50% in March, with sales of Necco Wafers seeing a 63% increase. “A clear signal of panic-buying,” the company wrote in a blog post.

According to CandyStore.com, one customer offered to trade a Honda Accord in exchange for all the Necco Wafers the company had in stock. Another woman planned to buy the junior roll-sized wafers because they were “better for vacuum-sealing.”

That’s pretty surprising for a candy the company ranked as one of the five-worst Halloween candies of all-time!

Necco also makes Clark Bars, Sky Bars, Mary Janes and Squirrel Nut Zippers, among other products. Fans are using #SaveNecco on social media in hopes of saving Necco’s classic candies.