Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

A Visit To The Birthplace of Cup Candy

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and admit something.

I prefer Boyer’s Peanut Butter Cup to Reese’s.

I realize that some people consider that blasphemy, but it’s true. I also prefer Hunts Ketchup over Heinz and hate the idea or image of chili and slaw on a hot dog. I guess I’m just a contrarian that way.

Since I was a kid, I’ve been a fan of Boyer candies. I love the Smoothie and the Peanut Butter cups.  I’m not as big a fan of their signature candy, the Mallo Cup, but then, as I said, I’m a contrarian. I mean, I like the Mallo Cup, but my heart belongs to the Smoothie.

Based in Altoona, Pennsylvania, Boyer has been around since the great depression, and has seen its share of ups and downs. Currently, the company is heading to new heights, and they recently acquired the Clark Bar, which was originally made in nearby Pittsburgh.  Until last year the Clark Bar had been made by Necco, but when that company went belly-up, their assets were auctioned off and Boyer brought the rather nifty candy bar back to the Keystone State.

The Clark Bar is not back in production yet. It’s expected to be back soon, but Boyer is still working on perfecting the shape (my educated guess is that they need to figure out the proper alignment of the flattening wheel between the extruder and the enrober).

However, since they are cranking out a sizable quantity of misshapen Clark Bars during the trial-and-error process of finding the right shape, they have decided to grind the failed experiments up and deposit them into Clark Cups, which are selling briskly and taste just like a Clark Bar, only as a cup instead of a bar. You can see the colorful boxes to the left.

The Clark Bar is also one of my favorite candies, and it’s cool that it’ll be back in production soon, and made by the folks at Boyer.

There have been a few times over the past couple of years when Amtrak’s Cardinal line was not fully operational, so we drove to Pittsburgh and hopped the Pennsylvanian to go to New York. That train stops in Altoona, and from the trains at the station you can see the Boyer factory, and when we found out that they had a factory outlet store, we decided to find an excuse to go there. Last week’s anniversary trip to the toy show in Hershey gave us that excuse, and the contrarian in me was delighted at the prospect of driving through Hershey with a cooler in the backseat filled with Boyer candy.

The Boyer Factory Outlet Store is small, but it’s still a massive treat for any Boyer fan. If you can’t make it there, you can find a lot of what they sell within at their online store (but none of the bulk goodies are available online). There is plenty of candy, of course, but also T Shirts, mugs, plush toys, toy trucks, gift tins and other coolness. Check out the photos to see what the shop is like…

A closer view of what we saw from the train.

Even closer! We’re nearly there!

Some might think this be heaven.

Boyer also makes some more traditional candies. We didn’t get photos of the chocolate-covered Oreos. They were good, though.

TV screens show the inner workings of the factory, and there are cool gifts all over the place.

More Clark Cups and Jimmie Stix.

It’s so cool to see the Clark logo on mugs and tins. Plus there’s plenty of cool Mallo Cup logo merch here, too.

Another shot of the sales floor.  On the racks in the background are where the irregular Mallo Cups and Smoothies are sold, unwrapped, in bulk.They tasted just as good, but you don’t get the play money.

After we left we drove by the front of the factory. The unwashed masses are not allowed in there, much to the relief of those of us who like to eat this candy. Nobody wants unwashed masses handling their Mallo Cups.


Finally, your PopCulteer stuck his camera out the car window as we sped down 17th Street and got lucky with this money shot of the famous yellow tank of Mallo, and the newly-installed Clark Bar sign. We shall look for some excluse to return to Altoona someday…probably after they get the Clark Bar up and running again.

Friday morning we’ll give equal time to Hershey’s Chocolate World, and later Friday the PopCulteer will present a huge photo essay of the Hershey Action Figure and Toy Show. We were going to post some of that Thursday, but every telemarketer in the world decided to call me today.

1 Comment

  1. Thomas Wheeler

    Cool article! And may I say, I agree with you about chili and slaw on hot dogs. In fact, I prefer mine plain.

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