Small Businesses

Small Businesses

“The unfair competition we face in the sugar industry needs to stop.  We need sugar reform now.  The intrusion of foreign competition into our lives makes our lives more difficult.  We need to reform the sugar program.”

Taz Murray, Maxfield’s Candy Company and Kencraft, Inc.,
Salt Lake City, UT

“It’s an unfair playing field.  Our sugar price is significantly higher.  We try and deliver a quality product at a reasonable price to our consumer, and, increasingly, it becomes harder and harder.”

Richard Kay, Sweet Candy Company,
Salt Lake City, UT

“It’s very important to stay competitive, and it’s very difficult when we have to pay higher prices than the world is paying. … We’re tired of paying 50 percent more for our sugar prices.  We need to get [the sugar program] eliminated and solved.”

David Glade, Taffy Town, Inc.,
Salt Lake City, UT

“[I] really do think it’s time to revisit [the U.S. sugar program], because for every job in the sugar growing and refining industry that is being saved somehow through this program, many of my peers are moving their candy and bakery operations out of the country to save the money on sugar. … [T]here’s far more jobs being lost in this industry right now than what are being saved through this current U.S. sugar policy.  And I really think it’s something that should be looked at in the current farm bill.”

—Larry Johns, McJak Candy Company,
Medina, OH

“For our company, [the cost of sugar is] between $15 and $20,000 a day that we don’t have in extra income.  And this is money that we could be using to hire workers, to invest in additional equipment right here in the United States.  That extra money is really going to the sugar industry, unfortunately, and American consumers are paying for that at the expense of our workers here in Bryan, Ohio.”

—Kirk Vashaw, Spangler Candy Company,
Bryan, OH

“The additional cost of sugar for us has a huge impact from the standpoint of being able to reinvest in our business as well as to compete with anyone who’s distributing products from any other countries, including Canada and Mexico, directly with the United States.  We’d like to be able to buy sugar for what the rest of the world is able to buy sugar. … We’d like to be able to compete on a fair playing ground, just like we have to everyday against our competitors.”

—Eddie Opler, World’s Finest Chocolate,
Chicago, IL

“One of our major competitors happens to make all their candies in Mexico, and [they] get to buy sugar for half the price that I have to pay for it, and then they ship it right back into the United States duty free. It’s just time, we have to eliminate and reform the sugar subsidies in the United States.  It hurts our business; it makes it more difficult to compete with confectioners coming into the United States that are duty free; and our own government is causing us not to be competitive.”

—Gregg Claeys, Claeys Candy, Inc.,
South Bend, IN

“[W]e are, as now, the only gumball company remaining in the United States, because our biggest obstacle to growing is the fact that we have to pay so much more for sugar than our competitors who are stationed right across the border in Canada.  How do you compete when your most abundant product is 46 percent more in cost?  It’s no wonder our competitors have gone to Canada.”

—George Stege, Ford Gum & Machine Company, Inc.,
Lincolnshire, IL

“Since 2006, we’ve added over 500 jobs at our New Jersey manufacturing facilities in Somerset. That’s the good news. The bad news is we’ve added another 500 jobs, but those jobs are at our manufacturing facilities in Spain, because we simply cannot afford U.S. sugar prices. We terribly need your help in Washington, DC, to reform the sugar program to increase domestic production and output to help us create more jobs in the United States. The jobs are available, if not for the sugar program.”

—Michael Rosenberg, Promotion In Motion Companies, Inc.,
Allendale, NJ

“[T]he most serious issue to me is the price of sugar. … Sugar is a tightly controlled government commodity. If we want to create jobs in the United States, we need to have sugar freed up.  We need a free economy with sugar. … We need to stop sugar subsidies, because it is anti-free market.  And the United States is all about free markets.”

—Pierson Clair, Brown & Haley Company,
Tacoma, WA

“It would be nice if we could have an even and fair playing field. Unfair, offshore price competition is killing [the sugar] industry. And anybody, like us, that makes candy with a high sugar content is affected radically. … [At] some point, the buyer says, ‘I don’t care how good your quality is, I don’t care where it’s made, it’s just too expensive relative to what I can buy from other countries.’”

—Eric Atkinson, Atkinson Candy Company,
Lufkin, TX

“Sugar is one of our primary ingredients, as we manufacture candy. We use a lot of sugar every year, several tons, and it is very, very important that the price be manageable. In the past several years, [sugar] has more than quadrupled in price, and we find it hard to have to pass this on to our customers. It’s getting harder and harder for people to afford the simple pleasures, and, of course, candy is one of them.”

—Susan Karl, Annabelle Candy Company, Inc.,
Hayward, CA

“Sugar policy is destructive. It is one that empowers foreign competition at the expense of U.S. manufacturers. We have a factory in Mexico, because we are obligated to recognize the practical realities of where our costs come from. And if we want to make candy and use sugar, we have an unignorable economic incentive to manufacture that product outside of the U.S. … It’s time to change [the U.S. sugar] program.”

—John Brooks, Jr., Adams & Brooks, Inc.,
Los Angeles, CA

“The high price of sugar has caused our business sales to drop every quarter.  We have had to lay off four people in production as well as many sales associates.  Being in the bakery business for over 80 years, I have never seen times like this.”

Charlie Riesterer, Riesterer’s Bakeries,
West Hempstead, NY

“We have to raise prices on the baked goods we produce.  Customers complain that we are expensive.  This we have to listen to as a result of the high prices we are having to pay for sugar.  Many customers turn away.”

Felix Sherman, The Ambrosia Bakery,
Baton Rouge, LA

“I have been told from a leading grocery chain that they buy baked goods from Canada because sugar is cheaper there.  We are exporting jobs to our neighbors for whom?”

 Kurt Schmitt, Deerfields,
Buffalo Grove, IL

“Sugar reform is essential to ensuring adequate supplies at a fair price for U.S.-based businesses like Clasen Quality Coatings, Inc.”

Greg Breunig, Clasen Quality Coatings, Inc.,
Madison, WI

“We [Bob’s Candies – Albany, GA] were one of the world’s largest manufacturers of candy canes and produced over 500 million a year, employing nearly 600 employees. … In the 1990s we had a very difficult time competing with foreign manufacturers due to the world price of sugar being so low compared to our U.S. price.  In fact, we moved 300 of those jobs to Mexico to try to compete.  Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough and the entire plant is now in Mexico due to the price of sugar.”

Greg McCormack, Kencraft Handcrafted Confections,
North Alpine, UT

“The high (and rising) price of sugar makes it hard to keep our price point in line with our market segment here in an economically depressed area (Muskegon, Mi.).”

Marvin “Butch” Rouwhorst, Rykes Bakery,
Muskegon, MI

“Our bakers have continually endured these increases on sugar that can no longer be allowed to go unchallenged.  Without change in the sugar bailout system the continued increase will surpass the ability to pass the cost on to consumers and force the end of millions of jobs in baking and food industries throughout the U.S.”

Dave Schmidt, Wisconsin Bakers Association,
Willis, WI

“I would love to see reform to the sugar program so that we could have a little bit of relief from the pressure of the prices that we’re paying for one of our main ingredients, and that’s sugar.”

Warren Brown, CakeLove,
Washington, DC

“The current U.S. sugar policy puts sugar-using companies at a severe disadvantage. We are forced to pay artificially inflated prices that seriously hamper our ability to be profitable and to invest back into our business. That kind of investment is vital to an economy that is trying desperately to recover, to add jobs, and to fuel spending that helps others businesses survive and thrive.”

Tim Jones, Just Born, Inc.,
Press Conference with U.S. Representatives Joe Pitts and Danny Davis Introducing the Free Market Sugar Act,
April 6, 2011 

“From Chicago to Springfield, sugar subsidies have a tremendous impact across our state. Illinois businesses employed nearly 34,000 workers in confectionary and other food and beverage manufacturing jobs in 2007 alone. But as these businesses continue to pay an extra tax on sugar while they grapple with the effects of a sluggish economy, those jobs continue to disappear.”

Bill Kelley, Vice Chairman, Jelly Belly Candy Co.,
Op-ed Submission to The Chicago Sun-Times,
June 17, 2011