See's Candies

See's Candies logo
See's Candies headquarters on El Camino Real, South San Francisco

See's Candies is a manufacturer and distributor of candy, particularly chocolate, in the western United States. It was founded by Charles See, his wife Florence, and his mother Mary in Los Angeles, California, in 1921. The company is now headquartered in South San Francisco, California.[1] It has kitchens at its headquarters and at a second location in Los Angeles, where there is also a retail shop. It also has an office in Carson, California.[2]

The chocolate in See's candies has been provided by the Guittard Chocolate Company since the 1950s; See's and Guittard pioneered the delivery of bulk chocolate in liquid form in tanker trucks in 1959 [1].

The company largely markets its products only in its own stores and at those of fellow Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Nebraska Furniture Mart, allowing it to control the standards under which they are stored and marketed. They are also available in some California and Oregon airports. Since the mid 1990s, the company has also maintained a strong Internet presence via its website. It is also well-known for being one of the very early investments purchased by Warren Buffett (via Blue Chip Stamps) for his Berkshire Hathaway Corporation (in 1972), beginning the path of that company from a textile concern to being one of the world's most successful conglomerates.

See's Candies operates over 200 stores in the following U.S. states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.[3] There are also stores outside the U.S. in Hong Kong, Japan, and Macau.[4] Seasonally — primarily during the year-end holiday shopping season — See's also offers its product in select markets in kiosks at malls and other shopping centers.

A See's Candies store.



According to the corporate website, Charles Alexander See II (1882–1949) arrived in the United States from Canada in 1921[5] with his wife Florence MacLean Wilson See (1885–1956), and his widowed mother Mary Wiseman See (1854–1939). Mary See had developed the recipes that became the foundation of the See's candy business while helping run her husband's hotel on Tremont Island in Ontario.[6] The family opened the first See's Candies shop and kitchen at 135 North Western Avenue in Los Angeles in November 1921. They had twelve shops by the mid-1920s and thirty shops during the Great Depression. In 1936 See's opened a shop in San Francisco. In 1972 the See family sold the company to Berkshire Hathaway Inc.. Charles N. Huggins became President and CEO through 2006, and was succeeded by Brad Kinstler. In 2004, following the closing of the original Fannie May candy company of Chicago, the See company expanded into the Chicago area, opening a retail/wholesale store in Downers Grove, Illinois. (Since then Fannie May has reopened some of its stores under new ownership.)

See family

Charles Alexander See II was born in Canada and came to California in 1919[7]. He came with his wife, Florence, with whom he had three children: Laurance A. See (1912-?), Margaret M. See (1913-?), and Harry W. See (1921-?), who was born after they arrived in the U.S.[8] By 1920, they were living in Pasadena, California and Charles A. See II was working as a druggist in a drug store.[9] At some point prior to her death in 1939, matriarch Mary See moved back to Ontario, Canada, where she was born.[10]

Laurance A. See's high-profile divorce from his wife Elizabeth in 1962 resulted in a landmark community property opinion, written by Chief Justice Roger J. Traynor of the Supreme Court of California for a unanimous court.[11]


Shop in Hong Kong
  1. ^ "About Us." See's Candies. Retrieved on January 18, 2009.
  2. ^ "Contact Us." See's Candies. Retrieved on January 18, 2009.
  3. ^ See's U.S. Shop locations See's Candies. Retrieved on August 11, 2009.
  4. ^ See's International Shop locations See's Candies. Retrieved on November 4, 2009.
  5. ^ See's Candies website
  6. ^ Mary Wiseman See, Find A Grave.
  7. ^ United States Census, 1930; Los Angeles, California
  8. ^ United States Census, 1930; Los Angeles, California
  9. ^ United States Census, 1920; Pasadena, California
  10. ^ Mary Wiseman See, Find A Grave.
  11. ^ See v. See, 64 Cal. 2d 778 (1966).

External links

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