Pearson’s Candy in St. Paul changes hands — again – Twin Cities

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Four years after being sold to a Twin Cities-based private equity firm, Pearson’s Candy Co. has changed hands once again, this time landing with California-based Annabelle Candy Co. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The Pearson’s land and its plant on St. Paul’s West Seventh Street were sold in a separate transaction to Tenet Equity of Scottsdale, Ariz. for $8.5 million, with Pearson’s remaining on the property through a lease.

“We sold both the real estate and the business,” said Jim Rikkers, senior managing director at Edina-based Spell Capital. “They were separate.”

Pearson’s, the candy maker behind the Salted Nut Roll, the Nut Goodie and previously Bit-O-Honey was founded in Minneapolis in 1909 and moved to St. Paul in 1950. Located on West Seventh Street since 1959, the company acquired Bit-O-Honey from Nestle in 2013 and spun it off during a brand refresh in 2020, little more than a year after the St. Paul candy maker was acquired by Spell Capital.

In a written statement, officials with Spell Capital said “we set about to invest in the facility to modernize and improve efficiencies. We have successfully executed on our plan and are nearing the end of our investment timeline for Pearson’s and believe Annabelle’s is a great fit to take Pearson’s forward.”

Pearson’s employs roughly 150 workers.

Annabelle, founded in 1918 by Sam Altshuler, is run by a third generation of Altshulers and specializes in the chocolate bars Rocky Road, Big Hunk, Abba-Zaba, Look! and U-No. Annabelle was recently acquired by Promise Holdings of Chicago, which this year also bought Seattle Gourmet Foods, manufacturer of chocolate-covered fruits, chocolate-covered coffee beans and other Dilettante Chocolates.

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