If it weren't for a chance meeting at church between Harry L. Brown, owner of a small confectionery store, and J.C. Haley, who worked for a spice company, you wouldn't be able to enjoy Almond Roca butterscotch toffee. After becoming friends, the pair decided to launch a small candy-making company, Brown & Haley, in Tacoma in 1912.
During World War I, the founders started sending their candy to the troops and sales flourished. After the war, the pair decided the key to their success would be innovation.
In 1923, the confectioners invented Almond Roca, a log-shaped butter-crunch candy that would become their claim to fame. In 1927, they decided to seal it in the now-famous pink tin. Almond Roca became known as "the candy that travels." During World War II, Brown & Haley candies were enjoyed by troops once more and the fame of Almond Roca spread far and wide.
"If you go to Japanese museums today and see dioramas of the "˜30s and "˜40s, you'll often find a pink Almond Roca tin on the kitchen table," says Pierson Clair, CEO.
Brown & Haley: Growth and Success
Today approximately 40 percent of the company's products are exported. The company is still headquartered in the same building in which Almond Roca was invented. And true to its roots, Brown & Haley continues to innovate, adding new products to the line.
"To be successful, you must delight the consumer," Clair says. "We do it through the color choice of our tins and through new flavors."
Clair says being located in Washington has helped Brown & Haley.
"Being located on the Pacific Ocean allows for free trade with Canada and the additional option of easy imports and exports from the Pacific Basin," he says. "Washington is a superb place to do business."