Frank C. Mars opened The Mars Candy Factory in 1911 with his second wife, Ethel Mars, in Tacoma, Washington. The factory produced fresh candy which the company sold wholesale. This venture failed.
In 1920 Frank, now back in his home state of Minnesota, founded Mar-O-Bar Co., which is the earliest incarnation of the present company.
Frank’s son, Forrest Mars, introduced the Milky Way bar, which became the company’s best-selling candy bar.
In 1929 Frank moved the company to Chicago.
In 1932 Forrest expanded to the United Kingdom. The same year, Mars launched the Mars bar.
Today Mars continues to be a family business, now owned by fourth-generation Mars family members. The company is now run by non-family members.
Mars, Inc. is an American global manufacturer whose global brands include M&M’s, Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Mars bar, Dove, Milky Way, Skittles, and Twix. The company also makes Uncle Ben’s rice, pet food made under the Pedigree, Sheba, and Whiskas labels, Seeds of Change organic food, Klix and Flavia beverage systems, and owns the world’s largest chewing gum maker, Wm. Wrigley Company.
Mars, Inc. is #3 on the Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies. Mars has 65,000 employees and had $30 billion in revenue in 2011.