Wolfgang Candy, a 91-year-old York-based business, may soon have a new owner.
Alabama-based Divine Serendipity, LLC has offered to buy the confectionery manufacturer for $1.5 million, according to Wolfgang CEO Ben McGlaughlin.
The proposed sale is subject to approval by both M&T Bank, Wolfgang's lender, and the United States Bankruptcy Court in Harrisburg. An August hearing is scheduled before Mary D. France, chief judge of the Middle District Bankruptcy Court, McGlaughlin said.
In March, the candy maker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after M&T Bank didn't approve a partnership agreement that would've restructured Wolfgang's debt.
"Since our bankruptcy filing in March, we've been seeking partnership opportunities to further capitalize our business and grow our retail brand. We're very happy that a suitable buyer has emerged in the process, who seems to believe in the same plan," McGlaughlin said.
That buyer is William "Wayne" Sellers, a 49-year-old, self-proclaimed Southern Baptist who said God has guided him through business decisions for more than 24 years.
"God gives us all signs," he said. "We just have to be willing to see them."
For Sellers, one of those signs came last week when he first visited Wolfgang's offices at 50 E. Fourth Avenue in North York Borough.
"I felt good when I drove on the parking lot," he said.
It's the history that draws him in, he said.
"Wolfgang is a very unique American success story, a fifth-generation legacy. They've been in business for 91 years and have weathered every major catastrophe except the civil war. It will be an honor to continue the legacy," Sellers said.
He hopes to continue the legacy by growing the company, he said.
Wolfgang's 100 employees and executives are expected to be retained, he said. In fact, he wants to increase headcount.
"I hope to grow the company soon, adding maufacturing space and more employees," he said.
And that growth still be in York County, he said.
"The business will stay in York County. There's no point in having employees drive 40 minutes. You have to be good to employees," he said.
People are the key, he said.
"If you have good people, you can do anything. I can buy candy equipment anywhere, but it's hard to find good people," he said.
His convictions come after a lifetime in the food industry, which he chose because "everyone has to eat."
Sellers' portfolio of companies includes Red Mountain Bakeries, a wholesale cake manufacturer; SelMor Foods, Inc., a manufacturer that makes all of McDonald's pies, and he currently owns Pasquale Food Systems, Inc.--the franchisor of Pasquale's Pizza & Pasta restaurants, which are located throughout Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama.
Wolfgang would be the first candy business he's ever owned.
Since its March bankruptcy filing, Wolfgang has been ahead of expectations for sales, expenses and cash management set forth by the court and our leadership, McGlaughlin said.
"This sale will allow us to keep our commitment to the community and keep jobs in York," he said.
-- Candy Woodall can also be reached at email@example.com.