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Russell Stover

the number one producer and seller of boxed chocolates in America and the largest producer of hand-dipped chocolates in the world

box of Russell Stover chocolates

Russell Stover was born in northwest Kansas in 1888; Clara Lewis was born in Iowa in 1882. The two first met at the University of Iowa, renewed their acquaintance several years later, and eventually married. The Stovers got into the candy business almost immediately upon their marriage, with Russell selling the candy Clara made.

Russell Stover Clara Stover

In 1921, while living in Omaha, Nebraska, the Stovers were approached by a gentleman who had come up with an idea for a chocolate-covered ice cream bar. The Stovers were intrigued, and the Eskimo Pie was an immediate success. The novelty wore off and sales dropped dramatically after fifteen months, however, and the Stovers sold their interest for $25,000.

The Stovers had just enough money to move and buy a small house in Denver, where in 1923 they began "Mrs. Stover's Bungalow Candies." Within their first year the Stovers had opened five "Bungalow Stores" in the Denver area. In 1924, they expanded their market to include stores in Kansas City, Lincoln, and St. Louis. In 1931, they moved their headquarters to Kansas City, Missouri. Not only did they manage to survive the Great Depression and the sugar-short years during World War II, they managed to create a multi-million dollar enterprise with world-wide sales. The company name was changed to Russell Stover Candies around 1944.

Russell Stover died on May 11, 1954, but Clara Stover carried on the business until selling out to Mr. Louis Ward in 1960; she died on January 9, 1975. Over the subsequent years Russell Stover Candies has acquired both Whitman's Candy Company and Pangburn's Chocolate Company, making Russell Stover the number one producer and seller of boxed chocolates in America and the largest producer of hand-dipped chocolates in the world.

The official Russell Stover website is www.russellstover.com.

SEE ALSO
Eskimo Pie
World War II

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The Robinson Library >> Economics >> Miscellaneous Industries

This page was last updated on May 11, 2017.