Hosts Richie and Mary Belyski make sure we always have a great time, and this year, while the trip was to the Visitor Center and included a Pizza party, we didn't know that they arranged for a tour!
Each small group was presented with the factory rules (don't touch anything!) from famed collector, author, and now PEZ employee, Sean Peterson. Our tour guide, Chris, is a 15 year PEZ veteran who runs IT. All dressed in our coats and hair nets, Chris took us on our way.
Next he took us to the place where it all starts ... the sugar silo. The sugar comes in by truck, is loaded into the silo, then it's brought into the factory where it is ground to an 8x sugar. It's then mixed with the flavor in hoppers that fit the candy making machines. PEZ has 3 of these brick making wonders.
The candy bricks are stored in plastic bins and are delivered to the candy packing room next door, via a conveyor belt system, for wrapping. "Reject" packs are not wasted. They are gathered up and sold to local farms as pig feed! Kinda funny since they did make a Porky Pig PEZ dispenser long ago!
Each candy pack then moves on to be bundled for sale or combined with dispensers. The automated system makes sure all the candy packs face in the same direction. An "Info Board" lets everyone know what is being packaged on the line for that shift. The day of our visit they were bagging "My Little Pony" dispensers.
Rounding out our tour was a trip to the huge warehouse where they store all the PEZ. We got a peek into where they package up PEZ.com orders as well.
Once our tour was over we went shopping! Ok, I went shopping, Bubba was taking all these awesome photos! It's a collectors bonanza in the gift shop, all the current dispensers, as well as some Visitor Center exclusives are on sale. A giant PEZ Boy dispenser even simulates serving up a giant PEZ brick!
There is an extensive collection on display in the Visitor Center. Dispensers as well as a handful of candy machines. I'm lucky enough to have one of the smaller yellow candy machines in my collection thanks to my awesome gift-giving hubby!
All in all, another great visit to PEZ Candy! Thanks Richie & Mary!!!