If you are selling something, the general logic for turning a profit is pretty simple: buy at a lower price, then sell at a higher price. This works very well in real estate, retail, and the stock market. But did you know that you can also buy old brands?
I like Ellia Kassof the more I learn about him. His extended family includes the heirs of Leaf Brands, maker of beloved childhood favorite candies like Jolly Ranchers (used as a form of currency on my elementary school playground), Whoppers, PayDay, Heath, etc.
By the mid-90s, most of Leaf Brands’ brands had been sold to various firms, most eventually ended up in the hands of The Hershey Company. Kassof lamented the fact that some of his family’s creations remained dormant and unable for current and future generations to enjoy.
As Consumerist reports:
Kassoff had particularly fond memories of the Astro Pop, the conical, tricolor lollipop from the early days of the space race, when children everywhere dreamed of rocketing off to the moon. After around 50 years, production of the retro treat ceased in 2004.
“I couldn’t believe it!” says Kassoff about the first time he realized he could no longer buy Astro Pops. “I’m like, ‘This is a part of Americana! What do you mean they don’t make it anymore?’”
While you and I might just throw up our hands and gripe about the death of another beloved brand, Kassoff called Spangler Candy, which had been acquired the Astro Pops brand in 1987, and spoke to the company’s president, who explained that the product just didn’t fit into the Spangler plan anymore. On a whim, Kassoff offered to buy the brand.
Thus began a pursuit that has led to the launch of Strategic Marks LLC, which according to Kassoff’s LinkedIn page, “focuses on re-introducing old brands to the public, through trademark acquisition and product/strategy development.”
Some of those resurrected brands include: Bullocks, May Company, Robinson’s, The Broadway, Marshall Field’s, Bonkers! Candy, Astro Pops, and Hydrox. While most people consider Hydrox cookie sandwiches to be a cheap knock-off of the more famous Oreos, the truth is that Hydrox came to market 4 years before Oreo.
I highly recommend reading The Consumerist’s full interview with Kassoff, as it is certainly worth the time and effort.
(Hopefully it won’t leave you craving junk food or “retail therapy”…)
These are not the cookie sandwiches you’re looking for:
Image courtesy Wikipedia