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Location: Boise, Idaho ­ Ada County
Project Area: Food Service


Idaho Candy Company

started as a small door-to-door business in 1901, moving to a new factory in 1909 to meet growing customer demand. The factory was touted as the most modern building in Boise, and Idaho Candy continues to produce its famous Idaho Spud Bars and Owyhee Butter Toffee in the same location, using some of the same equipment from the early 1900s. Today, Idaho Candy is owned by the Wagers family and has 23 employees. When he was president, John Wagers said he had the sweetest job in town. His son Dave Wagers now serves as the “Candyman” and president.

The Challenge

Idaho Candy has a long history of adapting to evolving industry standards and customer needs. The company wanted to continue its success in this regard by upgrading food safety and HACCP programs to meet stringent customer and third-party audit requirements. Idaho Candy saw an opportunity to expand sales through co-packing opportunities that would be made possible by upgrading these programs. The company contacted NIST MEP affiliate TechHelp and the University of Idaho for assistance.

TechHelp looked at Idaho Candy Company’s 106-year-old factory and designed a plan to implement today’s food safety standards. With their help and knowledge, Idaho Candy Company is now working toward a bright future instead of being left in the past.Dave Wagers, 'Candyman' & President

TechHelp’s Role

TechHelp’s Food Safety Specialist, Jeff Kronenberg,  worked with the “Candyman” Dave Wagers to assess Idaho Candy’s needs and develop recommendations for the company. Together, they decided to develop food safety and HACCP programs based on requirements specified by the AIB International Consolidated Standards for Food Safety. They also planned to identify a food

TechHelp and U of I stands next to "Candy Man" Dave Wagers of Idaho Candy.

Food Safety Specialist, Jeff Kronenberg (L) of TechHelp and the University of Idaho stands next to “Candy Man” Dave Wagers of Idaho Candy.

safety manager for the facility who could work with the TechHelp food processing specialist to implement the programs and provide ongoing oversight of food safety in the facility. They targeted a group of employees to serve on the HACCP/food safety team, conducted food safety and HACCP training for company employees, implemented food safety and HACCP programs in targeted areas, and made necessary facility repairs and upgrades to meet third-party audit requirements. By implementing the above recommendations, Idaho Candy was able to meet customer and third-party audit requirements and expand co-packing opportunities. The company increased sales, which led to the need for one new employee and retention of two more. Improved workforce practices generated cost savings, and investments in the plant and equipment led to improvements in plant efficiency and product quality.

The Numbers

  • Retained & Increased Sales: $100,000
  • Jobs: Added 1 job, retained 2
  • Cost savings: $6,000
  • Invested $124,000 in plant and equipment and $47,000 in workforce practices