See’s Candies was founded in 1921 by Mary See, her son Charles and his wife Florence in Los Angeles, California. Mary See had developed her candy recipes while helping her husband run a hotel in Ontario. After her husband’s death, Mary and her son moved to Los Angeles and used her recipes to sell candy. Even throughout the Great Depression, there was a demand for See’s unique recipes. By the mid-1920’s, the company had more than 12 locations in California. The Bakersfield store was the first of its kind to have a white, all porcelain store.
In 1952, Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance spent a half day at the See’s Candies store on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, learning to dip chocolates and work the production line, in preparation for the “Job Switching” episode of I Love Lucy. The episode, which featured Lucy and Ethel getting jobs in a chocolate factory, became one of the most popular in the show’s history.
The family sold the business in 1972 to Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. for $25 million. Today, there are more than 200 stores in the US and few in Hong Kong, Japan, and Macau. The company has more than 1500 full-time employees and as many as 6,000 during peak holiday seasons, such as Christmas and Mother’s Day.
The majority of See’s Candies are sold in their own stores, but there is an online ordering service and, during the holidays, the company sells from kiosks in shopping malls or other types of shopping centers.