Tour-goers check out Wolfgang chocolate products during a Made in America Tour last week. The candy company, traditionally known for its seasonal
Tour-goers check out Wolfgang chocolate products during a Made in America Tour last week. The candy company, traditionally known for its seasonal offerings, is now working to put products on shelves year-round. (Bil Bowden photo)

Summer usually means quiet assembly lines at Wolfgang Candy Co., but the North York manufacturer is changing the way it does business.

"We're growing from a seasonal business to a year-round business," said company President Andy Jacobs.

Last week, chocolate-coated graham crackers moved across a belt, signaling a greater demand for Wolfgang's products.

"It's summer and we're busy," he said.

Jacobs was hired in January to focus on retail sales and marketing, and it seems to be working, according to CEO Ben McGlaughlin.

The 92-year-old, fourth-generation family business is "migrating away from its traditional legacy," he said.

"We're developing sales channels to allow us to be on the shelf throughout the year," McGlaughlin said.

More work: Instead of ramping up production to fulfill fundraising orders and holiday candy sales, Wolfgang is churning out products all year.

"There's more work throughout the plant, and we're able to provide more hours to employees," he said.

The company employs about 100 workers, and the seasonal workforce is getting more hours. But McGlaughlin said it's too soon to offer specifics or gauge how much of a boost it will be to the average employee.

"We're at the beginning stages of our relaunch. I expect the work will crescendo and expand," he said.

New outlets: As the production run increases, Wolfgang is landing on more shelves of drug and grocery stores and mass merchants. The company is also focusing on the benefits of private label sales, in which it supplies customers with a product to include under their brands.

Earlier this year, McGlaughlin came up with a line of new products, including the better-for-you, natural pretzels and filled truffle cookies.

Wolfgang is also ramping up what it's known for. The candy manufacturer has launched new fundraising catalogs and this week launched a new website dedicated to fundraising, www.wolfgangfundraising.com.

The company is in the process of finalizing its contracts for fall fundraising and also fulfills a high volume of spring fundraising orders for Easter chocolate, McGlaughlin said.

These changes mark significant progress for a company that went through a bankruptcy and was sold last year, he said.

"My assessment is all the pieces are falling into place, and we're building the business in the manner we projected we were able to," McGlaughlin said.