Monday, January 18, 2010

Key III Candies

Key III Candies
4211 Earth Drive
Fort Wayne, IN
46809-1513
260-747-7514

Photo Credit: Me! Taken in May 2008





My family and candy have deep, deep ties! Not only do we love candy, but some family members have even worked for candy companies.

Wayne Candies Billboard
My mom and my Aunt Carolyn both worked at Wayne Candies. I don't remember that period of time but what I do remember is when my mother went to work at a NEW candy place called Key III.

Key III Candies was a solid bike ride from my house. It was on Earth Drive which was right off of Sand Hill Drive.

Key III existed in this warehouse structure and their main purpose was to make awesome candy!

I asked my mother how she came to work there and she told me that folks from Wayne Candies had left the company to start up Key III. They asked her to come work there and she did. My mom had all sorts of jobs within the candy factory but her most favorite was "quality control". I have to laugh because my mom, who was rail thin, loved her some candy and she could eat lots of it and you'd never know that this is how she passed the time of day ;).

There were two sets of memories that I have of Key III Candies.

First, my mom got to bring home the "rejects". Oh my gosh - when you grow up poor - "rejected" candy is like heaven on earth. She used to bring home boxes of chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate covered peppermint patties - oh - and the chocolate covered carmel nut thingies were THE BEST!!! When the company started experimenting with the white chocolate - well - those were the boxes I tended to leave alone ;).

My second memory was when we had the opportunity to take tours of the facility. I remember the big mixer machines and the conveyor belts where the chocolate was gracefully set up to coat those luscious buttons of carmel nut clusters. Everyone seemed to be wearing white from head to toe.

I haven't been inside Key III Candies in over 30 years (wow!) but my gosh, if I just close my eyes and concentrate real hard, I can still remember those awesome, chocolate smells.

14 comments:

ida said...

it was 1990/91 and i was sitting in desert storm. i think i was eating some goodness in my mre (meals ready to eat) that came from wayne candies. i was so bored and lonely. i was reading all the packages and saw that the candy was made in indiana. i beleive it was wayne candies. it was some goodness. it was memories. it was nice.

whomever was making the candies for the mre's thank you. thank you for some bright spots in a nasty day. thank you for posting on the package you were from indiana to this indiana girl. and i also thank the candy for understanding that i had some spots in me that needed sweetness.

PMX said...

I've driven past Key III Candies many times over the years and have always wondered what it was about. I never even had their candies until this Christmas when we got a bag of chocolate covered peanuts for a gift. It is neat to learn about some place I knew nothing about. Thanks for writing about it.

BurnUnit said...

Years ago a parent of a classmate worked at Wayne Candies and would occasionally share some of the "imperfect" candy that was brought home from work.

I also recall several times when at my aunt and uncle's (who were your former neighbors) having "rejected" Archway Cookies. But I don't know where they got them, as I don't recall either of them working at Ellison Bakery.

They were a treat though, as Archway was kind of a premium brand and my parents seldom bought them. Besides, mom's homemade cookies were better anyways!

ida said...

you could buy a big bag of archway rejects over near the airport in fort wayne on the southside. they were cheep and yummy. we went once in a while. got a huge bag for like 1.00

Chris Crawford said...

Key III is still open and still has their outlet store! Same location you remember as a kid.

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Anonymous said...

WOW.. So glad you blogged on this.. I used to work there too, from 1995 - 1996, The "younger" guys running the place nicknamed me "Hoobuck" since I was a relocated Buckeye into Hoosier territory.. They were and I bet still are a great company to work for. It was always fun to be able to go out on the line and snag a piece of candy. And your picture from Lucile Ball is perfect.. That is exactly what I always thought of. Don't know if you Mom was still there when I was but I am so glad That they are still making candy.. Sounds like a road trip in the future.

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WCD said...

I'm the grandson of the founder of Wayne Candies, the predecessor of Key III. My uncle, Richard and John Bleke, both who worked at Wayne, started Key III when Wayne Candies was sold in the early 70's. It's wonderful to see that it is still around and thriving. I, too, went on many tours of both Wayne Candies and visited my uncle at Key III (which was a short 10 minute bike ride from my house). Thin mints was always my choice.

Keep supporting candy in the Fort!

Portable Garages Indiana said...

This is the good blog with good images and good details. Please keep on posting the more stuff. I will like to hear more from you.

jcsparke said...

I drove by the other day and it was closed, shut down. Have they relocated as i would love to visit. Thanks for any help.

Jackie said...

Are they still open in town at another location Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,
I am currently employed by a company that leases space in the old Wayne(BUN)Candy building! I am on a quest of sorts, I'm looking to find PHOTOS taken of the INSIDE of the plant while it was in operation. The Allen County Public Library, The Fort Wayne Historical Society and the Journal-Gazette, "DO-NOT" have any of these kind of photos that I'm looking for. I'm still waiting to hear back from the "THE SENTINAL"(the other Fort Wayne Newspaper) Would you happen to know if ANY photos exist? I would just like to see how that place looked like on the inside! Thank you.

Sincerely,

R.Joyal Jr
Fort Wayne,IN
rmkcjoyal@yahoo.com