Each year on February 23 we celebrate Tootsie Roll Day, the birthdate of the ®Tootsie Roll.
It's not quite taffy and it does not have the expected texture of chocolate. Nevertheless, the Tootsie Roll's smoothness and cocoa flavoring are unmistakable. According to Tootsie Roll Industries, the Tootsie Roll story began in 1896, when Austrian-born Leo Hirshfield opened a tiny candy shop in New York City. Taking full advantage of his confectioner’s background, Hirshfield hand-crafted a variety of products, including an individually wrapped, oblong, chewy, chocolate candy that quickly became a customer favorite. Sold at a penny apiece and affectionately named after Hirshfield’s five-year old daughter, Clara, whose nickname was “Tootsie,” Tootsie Rolls propelled Hirshfield’s modest corner store into a burgeoning candy enterprise that has evolved in little more than a century into the multinational corporation, Tootsie Roll Industries.
Leo’s recipe required the incorporation of the previous day’s Tootsie Rolls into each newly cooked confection, a graining process that Tootsie continues to this day. As such, there’s (theoretically) a bit of Leo’s very first Tootsie Roll in every one of the sixty four million Tootsie Rolls that Tootsie produces each day. And with at least one variety still selling for just a penny apiece, it’s no wonder that Tootsie Roll has remained America’s favorite candy.
Building on the success of Tootsie Roll and its early offspring (the company launched Tootsie Pops, the world’s number one-selling lollipop, in 1931), the company has expanded over the years and now includes 22 of the world’s favorite candy brands within its confectionery lineup.
With annual sales approaching nearly half-a-billion dollars, Tootsie Roll Industries is recognized as one of the world’s largest candy producers. Its 100-plus years of unprecedented growth and expansion is a direct result of a keen focus on the basic fundamentals that launched Tootsie Roll into a worldwide success among every age group, culture, and demographic: relentless hard work; an unyielding commitment to quality; and a humble, socially responsible, family-run corporate culture.
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