Longtime candy packager taps into fundraising market

From left, at their plant in Reading, are Perfect Candy Packaging sales manager Steve Chuprinsky, general manager Robert Erkes and operations manager Michael Erkes.

A decades-old candy packaging company in Reading thinks it is poised for success in an entirely new market – fundraising.

A decades-old candy packaging company in Reading thinks it is poised for success in an entirely new market – fundraising.

“This is a gold mine waiting to be tapped,” said Steve Chuprinsky, the new sales manager at Perfect Candy Packaging Co., 501 S. Ninth St.

For years, the company has been business-to-business, buying gummy bears and yogurt-coated pretzels and other treats by the pallet, packaging them in its giant former cotton mill and selling them in boxes, bags and tubs to distributors and retailers such as Redner’s, Boscov’s and Turkey Hill.

Now Chuprinsky is tracking down people who organize fundraisers – often volunteers eager to make sure their annual or biannual fundraising efforts let their groups survive. Chuprinsky began marketing the fundraising products in April 2013, started full-time in February and is fanning out across the region, showing the products.

The company has had 119 fundraisers and 59 concession sales since last April, including some at Reading High School and Governor Mifflin High School sporting events.

Chuprinsky said he expects sales to take off.

“Shame on me if it doesn’t,” he said.

Mike Erkes, operations manager, got the idea to provide candy for fundraising after his children tried to sell some from another company.

“I was appalled at the lack of value of what was out there,” he said. “Not enough candy and not enough profit for the fundraisers.”

The company’s annual sales are about $3 million, said Robert Erkes, who is the company’s general manager, the founder’s grandson and Mike’s father.

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