The Jelly Belly Legacy | Herman G Rowland

Episode Transcript of: The Jelly Belly Legacy | Herman G Rowland

 

Alan
Welcome back. I’m here today visiting with Pam rollin. He’s the chairman of the board of the Jelly Belly company here in Fairfield, California. Welcome to today’s show.

Herman
Thank you, Alan. Glad to be here.

Alan
So tell me your background, fascinating being in this, this wonderful Candy Company and seeing all sorts of things around me that I’ve, I’ve enjoyed for years growing up as a kid, but how did you get into the Jelly Belly?

Herman
Were oh my gosh, it goes back a long ways. Allen 1869, with a great grandparents coming over from Germany. And then my grandfather joining his brothers in Chicago in the very early 1900s 19. Oh, 345. And family business started in 8098. And then he became president of that company for a period of time. And 1817, he went to Portland, Oregon, made candy corn up there.

Alan
Candy coin was he when the first makers of candy corner

Herman
No, actually, there was a maker before us, but but we kind of took it over in 1898. And we were the candy corn king of America and made the world’s greatest candy corn still do today. But anyway, so he went to Portland and found out that wasn’t a place to make candy because of the high humidity and everything courses, no air conditioning back then. Then he went down to Oakland in 1922. And made candy corn there quite successfully. And then my dad married his only daughter, beautiful, beautiful young lady. And then he went into the business with my grandfather. And he was the mechanical kind of guy who has real small business and but he was real tough working because it was all by hand. And so he developed a lot of equipment, and was ahead of his age with the equipment and and then, of course I came along in 1941. And I went to work when I was about 13 with him. And learned every nut and bolt in the factory. I don’t have much of an education, except for learning from my dad, how to run a candy factory, how to put a candy factory together every nut and bolt every wire, every machine. And of course today that’s helped me a lot to go ahead and and develop the company.

Alan
So when you were growing up your your pathway was set that you always wanted to step in and, and run the company and you know, per se,

Herman
well, school was tough for me. And, you know, I was I didn’t know what to call you. I just thought I was a big dumb fat kid. And, and that’s what it was. But I didn’t realize that I had all the things that they talked about today dyslexia and, and all of the fancy words for it. And it’s hard for me to read and hard for me to write and hard for me to do all that kind of stuff. So that kind of puts you in a box off to the side. But it does give you a certain amount of character when you have that kind of a problem I got in high school got very into sharp metal, metal shop woodshop, art, all those good things. I love biology of all things. But swimming, and football. And football gave me learned taught me how to work with people taught me how to take direction. Learning the playbook was even tougher for me. But boy, I learned every single bit of it and I love to play ball. I had a wonderful coach. So that was a big thing for me. And also all the way through high school every summer, I worked for my dad at the factory and learning how to again repair machines, but also making candy. I learned how to make all the different candies or were so I got married in in 60. And I went to work full time and did every job there was in the place. And then it just it went on from there.

Alan
So when you finally what year did you step in as a chairman of the board?

Herman
Well, that’s I’d have to go to the archives are really trying to find out what that was. I know that we incorporated in the early 70s. And they needed a president so my my parents put me in his president, but they aren’t coming in Ron that was a small company family company we had we started off in The 60s would tend to 12 people. And then we grew and pretty soon we had 30. And then we had 50. And then we had 100. And today we have over 800. And some odd people working for us. In three different plants,

Alan
or other plants here in the US are

Herman
well yeah, we have another plant in North Chicago, Illinois. And that’s actually the factory that my grandfather went to in early 1900s. It was started in 1898. And so one of the original buildings in that particular location were built in 1913. And we’re still working out of one of those buildings where we’ve added on to and bought buildings around it and, and built the location. It’s old. It’s clean, it’s beautiful and paid for

Alan
a key in this society and they have things that are paid for. I’m visiting here today with her role and he’s the chairman of the board of the Jelly Belly factory here in Fairfield, California. We’ll be right back after these messages.

Alan
Welcome back. I’m here today busy with him roll and he is the chairman of the board of the Jelly Belly Candy Company here in Fairfield, California.

Herman
Great to be here, Alan,

Alan
thank you. Herman, wait, when we were talking before about how your family had the history and into the candy industry. We left off about the mid 70s, you began to take a substantial role as the president of the family candy company. But where did the name Jelly Belly come from?

Herman
Well, in the late 60s, we started making all different types of candies. And one of the candies was a mini gourmet Jelly Bean. That’s a bean that President Reagan ate while he was governor. Now in 1976, a man named David Klein called me up. And I know who’s this guy. And he wanted us to make the world’s best Jesus, I know you make the best now, but I want to make it better. I want to make it with real puree and real orange juice and real chocolate and real stuff. Can you do that? Well, yeah, I think we have a technology to do that. And so from that point, he started in 7677 by 78. The products that he came up with his his idea for the name Jelly Belly, and, and the idea of putting the real ingredients in the center and selling one flavor at a time at a very high price. did very well. And in the late, let’s see, when was it 7980. We bought him out. And and then of course Reagan came into office. And in in 81 when he was inaugurated the Inauguration Committee called us up really in January of about January 3 or fourth and said, Hey, would you supply jelly beans to the inauguration? And we said sure we would. So we supplied 7000 pounds to the inauguration 1000 jars, that set on tables all over the Washington DC. And then we back that up with a case of beans at each table. And those are information tables. And we were invited to go to integration it was incredible to go to all different balls and Go go You know, see this whole thing happened. But most exciting thing for us was to see the jar Jelly Belly on every information table every place we went

Alan
well seeing such a strong demand I imagined coming into the inauguration. You’re certainly on the map by that time. How are the orders?

Herman
Well, we actually fell from the first of the year for about three months. We fell about 77 weeks behind on orders 77 weeks within three months, two years almost behind. And we had to send letters out to our customers early on and say hey, you are a customer if you want to have beans, you need to place your order for the next year. Well we did that and within a month or so that whole year was filled up for both our factories. And then we send an alert out saying you need to place For two years, now, these huge big stores, which would normally they don’t hardly even let you call on Him, we’re actually sending their VPS to our office trying to set up quantities of product for their store. But we wanted to be fair to all our customers, we gave them an allowance of what they had gotten in the past, they could have that again plus a little bit. But I don’t think we did 10% of the sales of jelly beans. During that year 1981 The whole world everybody can make a bean call it the President’s beans, Ronnie’s beans, whatever. We did not want to sell the beans. And we didn’t want to use Ronald Reagan’s name or whatever, we we just made jelly belly. And we never, we made the beans perfect. We didn’t try to rush the process and make more. Because we wanted to be the ones that were left over after this whole thing came to, you know, slow down took two years for it to slow down. But we’re here today. So many people said when Reagan’s out of office, you’re going to be gone? Well, sorry, when you have something that tastes good, and it’s fun to eat. People want to continue to eat it. And we work very hard to make every single beam that we produce

Alan
perfect. It worldwide and distribution right now,

Herman
yes, we are wearing about 70 countries. And it is continuing to grow. And our Thailand plant. We built a Thailand plant my oldest son runs that plant. He’s we’ve been over there about four or five years now. But that plant takes care of all of our international sales all around the world. And that’s continuing to grow. Really, it’s all kind of new found territory. So that’s really fun.

Alan
So in managing this, this global infrastructure, I guess you started from small to big, but you’ve managed this quite well. What are your dreams for 510 years down the road?

Herman
Well, I think my dreams are for my kids to run this place. And they are doing that my daughter right now is heading up the company with the president of the company. And I’m incredibly proud of her. We, my my two sons are in the company. My other daughter, her husband is in the company. And I have three or four grandkids in the company. And hopefully someday I’ll see my 12 or 13 year old great grandson get down here to I don’t want to, I don’t want to have them here that but but I’ve got 11 grandkids and and to great grandkids. And that just thrills me. That’s what I’m here for this a family business. And although it’s hate to get into this, but it’s tougher every day to stay in business, in in this country and in California. It’s really tough. But we’re fighting, we’re fighting to be here. And we’re fighting to stay in business.

Alan
You know, it does seem that we’re in a world ever changing with that. But the fact that you’re surrounded by family, and you’re able to successfully transition to the next generation is really a compliment you. Not many businesses are able to see that. But

Herman
you know, it’s it’s the people that work for you. It’s the people that believe in your company. And and every we have a couple of meetings with them every year all either 100 people. And I always talk about the aspect of they’re they’re making the most beautiful being there is in the world and many other confections that we produce. But every single being that they make billions of beans is going to go in somebody’s mouth. And they treat that being that way. They respect the beam. And they try to make every single beam perfect. And I know all folks are doing

Alan
that. Oh, what’s your latest flavor being that you just came out with?

Herman
Well probably. Tabasco is really, really a fun, really use the real Tabasco and we put that in the bean and watch out because it is hot. But you know, you can eat them and it gets really hot for a minute or two. But then it smooths out and it’s a wonderful Tabasco flavor.

Alan
I’m visiting here today with her and Roland. He’s the chairman of the board of the Jelly Belly Candy Company. We’ll be right back after these messages.

Alan
Welcome back and visiting here today with him rolling. He’s the chairman of the board of the Jelly Belly Candy Company here in Fairfield, California.

Herman
Great Alan.

Alan
So we were speaking before about the days of Ronald Reagan like this fascinate here you have next you a jar. Waterford Crystal jar. Is there a story behind that?

Herman
Or was there a story behind it, Alan? This is a jar to one of Waterford Crystal company supplied to Ronald Reagan while he was in White House. And it really starts when Ronald Reagan was governor. And he had a small jar with a gold leaf seal of of the governorship on it. And they would get the beans from selling don don would call up and say send me a couple more cases. And we’d send on the mini gourmet jelly beans, we didn’t have those before Jelly Belly. And so they would pack that into those jars. And he’d use those jars to give away to dignitaries and to friends and whoever came. But he’d also use it. And he told me personally about this. When I visited him in the Oval Office. He said I used to take those jars. And I would I went when my cabinet would get out of hand, I’d slide that jar down the table and I tell him dig into those beans, have a few beans, let’s get this meeting back into order. And I heard it many times and I saw him quoted, maintain some paper about that. But when you go into the Oval Office, and you meet the man in 1981, like like we did, it was I met him when he was governor. But when he’s president, it’s like, wow. And I don’t get a lump in my throat very often. But when you’re ready to walk down the hall and go in the Oval Office, you see him standing there and greets us and just breaks down all the attention right away just by how he welcomed you. And then he told that story again about how he, he used the jar. And then next thing we know we’re looking at the back of the officers that guy digging this big tall water, Waterford Crystal GA couch. And and the President is laughing. So and then this guy turns around and he comes walking up he says Hi, I’m George Bush. And he was back there digging looking for his favorite licorice bean. And so he introduced himself like we didn’t even know who he was. And so that’s the kind of guy those guys are the guys. And they were really, really terrific. But this jar was throughout the White House. And it was on the conference table. And he used this jar in a conference table just like he did the jury did in in California. And but this jar kind of has a little story to it see this little thin lid? Yeah, they actually had to start removing them from all the tables in the coffee tables in the White House. Because the guards at night Secret Service, they’d get in there or the cleaning people and they dig it to get jeans. And they’d set this thing down here and they’d set it in such a way it would break the jar. So it would break this lid. So that was a big story. They had to remove the jars every night from the conference table, you know, so just a little inside stories were or were a lot of fun.

Alan
I gotta ask you, Harry Potter, these, these weird flavors. How did that ever come about?

Herman
Well, we actually started working on some, you know, just for fun. We worked on hot dog and hamburger and catch up and pickle relish and mustard and mayonnaise. And all of those have a different story behind them. But then Harry Potter came along the book came along. And we were asked by one of the people that had licenses for Harry Potter. Could you make Harry Potter for us? Well, they wanted sardine and they wanted spinach and they wanted, you know, some different earwax and they wanted dirt. And and so we said, sure we already had some of the produce because we were playing with that already. And so we went ahead and did those things. And everyone has a little different story behind it. The vomit, which is like I thought I could never do. I had lost sleep over that. But one of the one of my employees came in and said him, do you remember we did that pepperoni pizza is so bad that we couldn’t eat it. You remember that? And I said, Yeah. He said, Okay, let’s throw another batch together. It was like four years before that. Throw another basket and let’s see what it’s like. So we did, I tasted it. It was pretty bad, but it needed to be worse. It needed to have a little acid in it. Because when you throw up you have a little Bernie, you know, so we put citric acid in and that became the Harry Potter vomit. And you know what’s so crazy out of all the other ones rotten egg and spinach and, and moldy cheese and everything else. Earwax the vomit was the most the one that all the kids wanted to feed grandma on to feed their kids you know I mean to have fun with

Alan
so I have to ask you what is your favorite flavor of jelly bean.

Herman
And I get asked that a lot. And the other day I was driving and I was out on the route truck with my son he he delivered candy to our stores and hadn’t done that before. And I’m sitting here and I’m eating a little packet of Jelly Belly, one bean at a time. And I’m just sitting there and it’s quiet in the truck we’re bouncing along and then eaten one flavor that’s really good. And then eight the next one that’s really good. Eight the national you don’t get a chance to do that very often. Well, you don’t you don’t sit there and deceit one flavor at a time. And those are really good. But you know, when it really comes down to it, I think Juicy pear or or or peach or two of my favorite two of my favorite flavors. And

Alan
very good. Well, Jim, I appreciate you being on today’s show. All right, got it. Well,

Herman
it’s been a lot of fun. Thanks for all the questions and good luck to you guys.

Alan
Thank you. I visit here today with him rule and the Jelly Belly Candy Company here in Fairfield, California. We’ll be right back after these messages.

 

 

 

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About Herman G Rowland

Herman G. Rowland, Sr. was born in 1941 and is Chairman of the Board of Jelly Belly Candy Co. headquartered in Fairfield, CA. The firm manufactures Jelly Bellyjelly beans and 70 Confections by Jelly Belly gourmet candies.

Herm is the great-grandson of Gustav Goelitz, a German immigrant who launched the family’s candymaking tradition in this country. Gustav and his brother, Albert, began selling handmade

confections in 1869 from a storefront and then a horse-drawn cart in Belleville, Illinois.

In 1976, Herm accepted a challenge from California entrepreneur David Klein to develop a jelly bean made with “natural” ingredients for flavorings. Jelly Belly beans became an instant success.

Herm was honored for lifetime achievement in 1988 with the prestigious Kettle Award and honored with the Henry J. Bornhofft Memorial Award from the Retail Confectioners International organization in 1987. In 2010, he was made an Honorary Base Commander at Travis Air Force Base.

Herman G Rowland on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
Herman G Rowland

Herman G. Rowland, Sr. was born in 1941 and is Chairman of the Board of Jelly Belly Candy Co. headquartered in Fairfield, CA. The firm manufactures Jelly Bellyjelly beans and 70 Confections by Jelly Belly gourmet candies.

Herm is the great-grandson of Gustav Goelitz, a German immigrant who launched the family’s candymaking tradition in this country. Gustav and his brother, Albert, began selling handmade

confections in 1869 from a storefront and then a horse-drawn cart in Belleville, Illinois.

In 1976, Herm accepted a challenge from California entrepreneur David Klein to develop a jelly bean made with “natural” ingredients for flavorings. Jelly Belly beans became an instant success.

Herm was honored for lifetime achievement in 1988 with the prestigious Kettle Award and honored with the Henry J. Bornhofft Memorial Award from the Retail Confectioners International organization in 1987. In 2010, he was made an Honorary Base Commander at Travis Air Force Base.

Alan Olsen on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
Alan Olsen

Alan is managing partner at Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co., LLP, (GROCO) and is a respected leader in his field. He is also the radio show host to American Dreams. Alan’s CPA firm resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and serves some of the most influential Venture Capitalist in the world. GROCO’s affluent CPA core competency is advising High Net Worth individual clients in tax and financial strategies. Alan is a current member of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (S.I.E.P.R.) SIEPR’s goal is to improve long-term economic policy. Alan has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting and develops innovative financial strategies for business enterprises. Alan also serves on President Kim Clark’s BYU-Idaho Advancement council. (President Clark lead the Harvard Business School programs for 30 years prior to joining BYU-idaho. As a specialist in income tax, Alan frequently lectures and writes articles about tax issues for professional organizations and community groups. He also teaches accounting as a member of the adjunct faculty at Ohlone College.

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