POWERS CANDY & NUT - CORPORATE HISTORY
Gilbert Cooley and Ralph Powers founded Powers Candy & Nut Company in 1948 in a small town in South Central Washington State. At this time, the business was purchasing bulk confectionery items from major manufacturers and packaging them into smaller retail size units under the Powers label. Distribution was handled on a direct store delivery basis within a one hundred mile radius of the warehouse.
In 1954, Powers became incorporated and began its unique method of distributing through grocery warehouses, rather than directly to retail accounts. It was at this time the company moved to Spokane, Washington in order to be closer to the areas major distributors and chain warehouses. Working directly with this particular class of trade has remained a successful approach for Powers. Through the 1960’s and 1970’s, Powers expanded its retail marketing thrust to all of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Northern California, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.
Much of the growth and success of the company during this period can also be attributed to the expansion into the nut-processing arena. Powers began by supplying its customers with holiday baking nuts and before long had purchased equipment to roast, salt, mix and package snack nuts as well. Powers is now the largest packer of confectionery and nut products in the Northwestern United States.
In the late 1970’s, Powers correctly identified a sales and marketing niche with the military commissary system. From that time to present, Powers has expanded to world wide military distribution.
In the 1980’s, the “warehouse clubs” entered into the picture and Powers began supplying nut mixes and confectionery items to companies such as Price Club, Costco and Pace. It was during this time that Powers began processing and packaging in excess of ten million pounds annually.
Always looking for new areas in which to expand, in 1993 Powers started their Food Service division. Powers had been providing goods and services to hotels, hospitals, airlines, etc. on a direct basis, but had not focused directly on putting together programs to work with major Food Service distributors. We now work directly with the likes of Alliant Food Service, Food Services of America, Nugget members, Sysco Food Service and U S Food Service, as well as many smaller family run food distributors. We currently offer Food Service distribution into the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Although export has been discussed over recent years, other than a little business in Canada and Mexico, Powers had primarily served the United States (other than military sales). In 1994, two things happened to change this. First of all, one of Powers customers had a client in Russia that needed confectionery items, so we began exporting to Russia immediately. Secondly, a Norwegian company approached Powers looking for trail mixes and snack nuts for export to their company in Norway.
Our roasting and packaging equipment is state of the art. We use a vertical form, fill & seal equipment along with nitrogen flushing all packaged nuts and nut mixes. This is to assure long shelf stability and quality of the finished product. All items that are repackaged by Powers pass through a metal detector at the time of packaging and are nitrogen flushed for extended shelf life. The cooking oil used is Durkex 500-Sunflower, which is an all natural oil produced from sunflowers. No animal fats or peanut oil is used. Quality control at Powers is top priority, for example, the pH of the oil is checked twice daily, and the nitrogen content in the sample bags from each lot is checked at four-week intervals. Our coding system tells us when an item was produced, which machine did the packaging and even who the machine operator was. Our years of experience have given us the knowledge to truly be experts in our field.
In 1997, the Cooley family purchased all rights to the company and because of this sole ownership and the management of our company; Powers is quick to react to our customer needs. Should a new item or mix be requested, or a different pack size needed, decisions can be made quickly and efficiently.
Powers reputation in the industry, as well as service, is unsurpassed!!!