Wolfgang Candy Co. CEO Ben McGlaughlin smiled as he left a Harrisburg courtroom Friday afternoon, knowing his family's company and its employees would continue making candy at the manufacturer's North York plant.

"It feels good," he said.

A bankruptcy judge on Friday approved the sale of the 91-year-old candy maker to Lancaster-based Food Management Systems Inc. for $1 million.

"We like that they're local. We think our customers will like that they're local. It's good for us and good for York," said McGlaughlin, a fourth-generation member of the Wolfgang family.

The sale price, which includes nearly all of Wolfgang's assets, will be paid to the confectionery manufacturer's debt holder, M&T Bank.

Part of the sale price includes a $150,000 buy-in, paid by Ben McGlaughlin, his brother Brad McGlaughlin, who also holds a management role at Wolfgang, and their father Dennis McGlaughlin. The money will give them 15 percent ownership in Wolfgang Operations LLC, which will operate Wolfgang Candy, and Wolfgang Ventures LLC, which will manage the real estate.

Wolgang Ventures will lease the real estate from M&T for $10,000 per month.

All of Wolfgang's employees will be retained, said Mike Stillman, president of Food Management Systems.

The candy maker employs 50 to 100 workers, depending on the season, management said.

"We're going to keep it as is. If anything, we will add to it, not take away from it," Stillman said. "We hope the transition improves morale and lets people know their jobs are safe."

Stillman and his father, also an entrepreneur from Lancaster County, have ownership in many businesses throughout the region.

"I'm a lifelong Pennsylvanian," said Stillman, a Penn State graduate and long snapper on the 1982 National Championship football team.

The Stillman family's rolodex of companies includes MKT Metal Manufacturing Inc. in Manchester Township; Mac-It Corp. and two Dairy Queen locations in Lancaster County; Master Spas in Indiana; hotels in New Holland and Elizabethtown; an organic feed mill and a chicken farm.

Wolfgang is the Stillman's first confectionery manufacturer.

"It's a good company, and we want to make it even better," Stillman said. "(Wolfgang) needs strong financial backing, and we can provide that."

The Lancaster company placed $1 million in escrow to pay the bank and close the sale Friday afternoon, attorneys said.

Having the money in an escrow account helped the sale avoid the delay it faced with a previous interested buyer, Birmingham, Ala.-based Divine erendipity LLC, said Larry Young, attorney for Wolfgang.

Divine Serendipity in August was approved to buy Wolfgang, but the firm never paid the $885,000 purchase price or $10,000 monthly lease to M&T Bank, attorneys said.

France vacated an order approving that sale last week, and the uncontested motion put Wolfgang back on the market.

Divine Serendipity CEO William "Wayne" Sellers showed up in court Friday with his attorney Marc Witzig and made a $1.2 million offer, with contingencies. Witzig said Sellers was willing to pay $100,000 Friday and the balance later this month, but the bank rejected the offer.

"Well, I lost," Sellers said after the hearing. "That's business. Onto the next deal..."

Other interested buyers included Adams County-based G&S Foods Inc.; Robert Lukas, president of the former Classic Caramel Co. in York; and local developer Themi Sacarellos, attorneys said.

G&S wasn't ready to settle according to the bank's terms-and may have relocated the company-and Lukas and Sacarellos never made formal offers, attorneys said.

- Candy Woodall can also be reached at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.