Made In East Texas

by Christa Lollis

The sweet taste of chick-o-sticks and peanut butter bars have been home to Lufkin for almost 80 years. But Atkinson Candy started out selling from the trunk of a car. "He borrowed a relatives car, drove to Houston with the boys and his wife in the car. He picked up a load of candy with all his available cash, started selling candy on his way back from Houston and that's how he got started," Erik Atkinson explains about how his great grandfather started the company.

Now, it's a booming business in the heart of East Texas and it's one of the few family candy owned businesses that are even still around. "We're a small business and there's some larger businesses around us that have kind of fell to the wayside and we're still here going strong," long time worker, Janice Brown says.

Workers say it's the caring and friendship that comes along with being a part of Atkinson Candy that keeps them so loyal. "It's the fact that after being here for 32 years it feels more like family than a job and that means a lot to me," Brown told KTRE. Being family oriented is something the company prides themselves on. They say maybe in their 100 year plan they'll get bigger but for now there's no need to change "We kind of like being a small company and a family business as well. The way you get big like that kind of takes you away from being a family business," Atkinson explained.

Being so hands on with the company gives the Atkinson family a chance to really monitor the candy that they produce. It assures them that the products they sell are top notch. "We care, I mean here at Atkinson candy company our family name goes on each piece of candy we make so it's personal for us," Atkinson said. The Atkinson's hope that sets their candy apart from all the rest.

They hope to be a part of east Texas for many years to come.  "We're just happy to be a part of Lufkin, Texas. We're darn proud to be here. Couldn't think of a better town to be in," Mr. Atkinson said.  Now, the next generation of Atkinson's have started to work in the factory and they are ready to carry on the tradition