If it isn’t Palmer, it’s just candy!
R.M. Palmer Company has been crafting seasonal chocolate novelties since 1948. What began as one man’s dream has grown into a collection of holiday novelties loved by millions of people. Today, 850 dedicated employees design, produce, package and ship more than 500 unique products from Palmer’s headquarters in West Reading, Pa. – making it one of America’s largest and most innovative confectioners.
Founder Richard M. Palmer Sr. (January 5, 1920 – Reading, Pa.) graduates from the College of Business Administration at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa., and later serves as captain in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII.
Palmer marries the lovely Vivian Golden and has three children – Richard M. Jr., Thomas C. and Mary Marshall Palmer, plus six grandchildren and two great-grandsons. A family man at heart!
With an initial investment of $25,000, equivalent to $245,000 today, Richard Palmer Sr. purchases some used equipment and rents an old warehouse in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, where the R.M. Palmer Company is formed.
With only four employees and four products that included Baby Binks, Bunny Binks, Daddy Binks and Hen & Egg, Mr. Palmer started calling on W.T. Grant Co. 25 Cent Stores. They immediately fell in love with Baby Binks and agreed to a trial display for the month of November, well before Easter.
Despite the off-season timing, Baby Binks was an instant candy success, and the 25 Cent Store chain came back with a $20,000 order for Easter, taking the R.M. Palmer Company off the ground!
From day one, the R.M. Palmer Company has taken pride in making bunnies special. Most bows are still hand tied in the Ribbon Department, and most icing decorations are still made by hand in the Icing Department – just as they were back in 1948.
The Company relocated to 237 North 11th Street, Reading, Pa., to make room for more employees and production equipment.
The Company once again relocates, this time to their current home office of 77 South Second Avenue, West Reading, Pa. The business had grown from four employees to 150 and from four products to 50 unique holiday items.
This is also where R.M. Palmer Sr. designed a brand new state-of-the-art hollow chocolate molding line called Line 1. It was the first automatic molding line to manufacture items at the same time and is still probably the most versatile molding line in the world today, producing 20-30 different items, hand and machine decorated.
Production began in Building 2, the building right next to the main building in West Reading where the Company’s product line now included 30-40 Easter items, Palmer’s biggest holiday.
Christmas items were introduced in 1967, Palmer’s second venture away from Easter.
A modern 60,000 square foot Distribution Center was built in Berkshire Heights. This was where all finished products were stored and shipped from.
Richard M. Palmer Jr. follows his father’s footsteps and joins the family candy business after earning degrees in Industrial Engineering and Marketing from Mercersburg Academy and Lehigh University.
The R.M. Palmer Company grows to approximately 300 employees.
1972 – 1974
Production started on a new line called the Bindler. This was the first of its kind in the United States because it was able to make solids, double layers and filled centers.
R.M. Palmer celebrates its 25th Anniversary!
Valentine was added to R.M. Palmer’s line of products, making it Palmer’s third venture away from Easter candy.
Created Double Crisp, a combination of chocolate and rice crispies. Palmer was the first to introduce flavor combinations into the seasonal candy business. Now, in addition to Double Crisp, Palmer offers peanut butter, mint, caramel and fudge, each in many shapes and sizes.
New Production Line 4 was added. This was another “Palmer” design and the first in the world capable of molding either hollow or solid chocolate on the same line. Incredible!
A brand new storage tank was added to Building 2, capable of holding over 60,000 pounds of creamy chocolate!
“Peanut Buddy” was first sold – another Palmer sweet success!
R.M. Palmer employs 600 employees and makes 200 items, which now include Halloween products. Trick or Treat!
Added a 60,000 square foot addition to the Distribution Center in Berkshire Heights.
Production Line 5 was added that spanned over a mile long with approximately 950 different molds.
Production Line 8, which was the most unique molding line in the United States at the time, was put into production. The molding line can decorate up to six colors, fill candy and mold crisp all at the same time.
Richard M. Palmer Jr. is honored and inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame!
Completed the installation of the new Coating Manufacturing Department. The innovative system enabled R.M. Palmer to produce their own chocolate coating and produced 10 million pounds the first year.
Began construction of a new 165,000 square foot Distribution Center in Exeter Township, Pa. R.M. Palmer grows to employ 750 people and makes 300 different items. Milestones!
An additional 30,000 square feet is added to the Exeter Distribution Center. Two more chocolate storage tanks were installed, increasing total liquid chocolate storage to almost 1 million pounds!
Another 29,600 square feet was added to Exeter Distribution Center.
New Production Line 10 was installed. This line runs a large assortment of shapes that help make Palmer’s candy so unique.
Added new Mesh Bagging Machines for bagging capabilities so R.M. Palmer can bundle its sweet treats into 3.4 ounce bags filled with candy. Enjoy!
A 29,600 square foot cooler addition was designed and built for the Exeter Distribution Center.
R.M. Palmer celebrates its 50th Anniversary!
R.M. Palmer teams with NASCAR, along with some of the top Cup drivers, to introduce chocolate race cars to be exact replicas of their race cars. It’s a race to the finish line with this perfect match!
Installed Production Line 11, a high-speed molding line.
Built another 29,580 square foot cooler addition in Exeter Distribution Center, which now totals 330,230 square feet, equivalent to 10 football fields, all under one roof. Now that’s a lot of space for candy!
NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and R.M. Palmer introduce a candy bar named Dale Jr.’s Big Mo’. The name Big Mo’ pays homage to Earnhardt Jr.’s hometown of Mooresville, N.C., and is a longtime nickname used for him by his closest friends.
“Baby Binks” turns 60 and remains one of R.M. Palmer’s top selling items!
R.M. Palmer Company is recognized as one of the Top 100 Global Confectionery Companies by the American Registry.
R.M. Palmer acquires Merlin Candies of New Orleans and expands the distribution of Merlin bunnies nationwide.
R.M. Palmer introduces the one pound Mega Coin. Made with Belgian milk chocolate and standing nearly 8″ tall, this delicious gold foiled treat might just be the largest chocolate coin available for sale anywhere.
With a new take on an old favorite, R.M. Palmer brings to their fans the Yoo-hoo® bar. The classic chocolaty Yoo-hoo® taste you love in a yummy candy bar.
Today, R.M. Palmer Company employs close to 850 dedicated employees and more than 500 unique products are offered – making R.M. Palmer one of America’s largest and most innovative confectioners.
In 2018, R.M. Palmer Company is celebrating its 70th anniversary of crafting fun, seasonal chocolate novelties! R.M. Palmer is committed to creating products that stand the test of time and looks forward to continuing the tradition of “making candy fun” for generations to come.