Saturday, February 11, 2017

Chattanooga Woo Hoo

Topps is inextricably associated with Brooklyn, there is no doubt. But if they ever had a "second city" it would be Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The wonders of the Scenic City would have been known to Philip Shorin, who was posted at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia after he was drafted during the Great War (WW1), as his army base was about nine miles south of Chattanooga and the city would have been a natural stomping ground for a doughboy on leave.

In March of 1943 Topps acquired the Bennett-Hubbard Candy Company (founded 1919) and established a southern outpost along the Tennessee River. Some wartime treats were produced there for a time:

Benn-Hubb as the locals called it also made such things as Peanut Butter and Table Syrup; presumably Topps sold those brands off.

Topps got another wonderful thing out of the city as well, the trademark to Bazooka, which was originally the property of the Brock Candy Company:

I've never been able to fully connect the dots but believe Brock sold the Bazooka trademark at some point, possibly to Bennett-Hubbard. Topps did not create the name, they acquired it. Back in the day Brock was a bigger concern than Topps or Benn-Hubb from what I can determine. They certainly were bigger by the 80's as they were the first US Company to produce Gummy Bears. Amusingly they were eventually bought by Brach's Candy!

The Bennett-Hubbard plant, located on 11th Street, was shuttered by Topps around 1951 (I think) as they were consolidating their Candy Division back into the mothership. Topps may have reopened it for a time to produce confectionery items but I am definitely not sure about that. Topps had at least two other plants outside Brooklyn by the mid-sixties, I'm just not certain if this was one of them.