. -- It was business as usual Wednesday morning outside the Wolfgang Candy Co. store on East Fourth Avenue in North York.
Customers bought their favorite chocolate treats, which Barney Ilgenfritz of Lower Windsor Township said he’s enjoyed since childhood.
“I remember my grandmother telling me all about Wolfgang,” he said. “According to her, Wolfgang and Hershey’s were the only chocolates ever made.”
But it wasn’t just any other day for the 91-year-old company.
Wolfgang Candy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after a partnership deal fell through that would have facilitated restructuring of the 91-year-old company, said Benjamin McGlaughlin, president and CEO of North York-based Wolfgang Candy Co.
However, operations will continue as normal at the company, which does not anticipate any layoffs, McGlaughlin said.
“Absolutely, we’re open for business,” he said.
Ilgenfritz, standing outside the store with a bag full of goodies, said that if bankruptcy shut down the iconic York company, it would be a “double whammy” for him, since his wife works in sales for the company.
“York would lose its candy company and my wife would lose her job,” he said. “But it’s a little too early to tell what impact it will have.”
His wife was not at work Tuesday and heard the news Wednesday morning at an employee meeting, Ilgenfritz said. He came to visit her and on his way out, picked up some candy at the store.
Business can file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with a federal bankruptcy court when they are unable to pay creditors. In Chapter 11, the business remains in control of its operations and is subject to the oversight and jurisdiction of the court.
The company was granted an interim order to use its cash collateral to pay its 90 employees as scheduled Friday, according to the filing. A hearing to finalize the order will be held today.
Of the workers, 77 are hourly and 13 are salary employees.
Without the order, the company would be unable to pay its employees their wages and benefits and would have to shut down operations, the filing states.
McGlaughlin would not reveal details of the cancelled partnership deal, only saying that the company was in talks for a long-term partnership, but that the deal was rejected by the bank. The move forced the company to seek protection through bankruptcy.
“We obviously wanted to do this outside of (bankruptcy),” he said.
McGlaughlin said the company is continuing to look ahead for other opportunities.
“The worst of a lot of this is behind us,” he said. “Our goal is to grow awareness for the Wolfgang brand and to seek out partnership opportunities.”
The iconic York brand is not going anywhere, McGlaughlin said.
“We expect to be here for many years in the future,” he said.
That’s good news for the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau, which works to attract visitors to York, billed “the factory tour capital of the world,” said President Anne Druck.
Since the launch of the factory tour brand in 2001, Wolfgang has been a signature partner of the program.
“Manufacturing and tourism are such huge parts of our economy and we’re fortunate that we have companies that are making products and showing visitors what they do,” she said.
The Wolfgang factory tour is one of the county’s most popular, Druck said.
“A lot of people are interested in their tours,” she said.
Click here to read the statement from the company.
Click here to read the court filings.
History of Wolfgang
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York company’s private labels gain exposure
North York’s Wolfgang Candy: ‘Grew from Paul’s pony cart, Robert’s basket, Glenn and Ruby’s red wagon’
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