HISTORY OF THE KATHRYN BEICH
BRAND & KATYDIDS
HISTORY OF THE KATHRYN BEICH BRAND & KATYDIDS
Paul F. Beich made Bloomington a sweeter place.
Beich founded a sugar-coated dynasty that included such timeless confections as Laffy Taffy, Katydids and Golden Clusters. Sweet success started with hard work as an immigrant teen at a downtown Bloomington confectionery begun in 1854 by J.L. Green, a stint as a traveling salesman for a St. Louis candy company, and a return to Bloomington to buy the candy store of his youth.
Beich and a partner convinced candy czar Milton Hershey to move manufacturing for his Lancaster Caramel Co. from Chicago to a vacant buggy factory at Front and Lumber streets. By about 1905, the two partners were gone and Beich was running the Paul F. Beich Candy Co. Soon it had hundreds of employees.
In the 1920s, Beich’s sold chocolate-peanut-marshmallow bars touted as “Whiz – Best nickel candy there iz-z.” Its nutritional survival bars were given to soldiers and astronauts. In 1967, another factory on the city’s southwest side opened; it’s still used today.