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From Baird to Beyond: Lollipop Factory Manufactures Sweet Treats for the Masses

A small business in downtown Baird is manufacturing to the masses -- an inside look at the lollipop factory that's gone from the Big Country to the globe.
It's a pretty sweet job.

Grumpe's Specialties started back in 1981, with one simple idea -- manufacturing lollipops to the masses.

"You set your mind to it, and you can do anything," said founder Glenda Stringfellow.

Since then, the company has grown and grown.

Now, they ship the sweets to all fifty states and to dozens of countries all around the globe.

"It just ballooned. We had great people working for us and that's half the battle right there," Stringfellow said.

Started by Stringfellow and her husband Cliff, the entire operation sits in a small building in downtown Baird.

Inside, a true candy factory.

A mix of corn syrup, sugar and water in a large tank is brought up to 275 degrees and cooked for an hour.

From there, the burning hot taffy-like substance is pounded and rolled for several minutes in a steamy room.

Then, on to the conveyor belt, where the pieces are cut, stamped and packaged.

And finally, to the cooling room, where they're each hand-checked and boxed up.

On top of all that, the company can actually add custom logos to each lollipop, from words of wisdom to smiley faces.

Speaking of wise words...Stringfellow credits her success to this:

"Probably the way we dealt with customers and our reputation," she said. "Our word was law. If we told them we'd do something, we'd do everything to get it done."

Her very first employee, Carlton Jones, who started alongside her and her husband more than 25 years ago, credits it to her.

"She was very picky about the candy," he explained. "It had to be the right texture, right color, cellophane had to be perfect, or it went right out the back door, didn't go to the customer."

If you're wondering where the name came from -- look no further than this 78-year-old businesswoman.

"My grandchildren call me grumpy and that's where it's from," Stringfellow laughed.

Grumpy or not, this small business has proven to be one sweet deal.
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