McJak Candy Company LLC

McJak Candy Company, founded in 1982 by Karen McCurdy and Bill Lonjak, is a story of a company that started out small and has grown astronomically. 1087 Branch Road, Medina, Ohio, has transformed from farmland to a 60,000 square foot factory. Initially, the candy making was very slow and labor intensive, but the help of new technology has made it possible to produce about 250,000 lollipops each day.
When current owner, Larry Johns, bought McJak in 2000 the business was only employing 15 individuals in a space of 9,600 square feet. After many expansions in the past several years McJak has grown to employ 85 full and part-time employees in a space that has grown to be 60,000 square feet.
The growth, however, did not happen over night and took perseverance and determination. The company faced many rough patches early on during the transition from 80% fundraising to only about 10% and 90% retail. Johns did not lose faith in the company, however, and the growth took off during the 2008 recession.
After McJak's 31 years of business it has grown to not only just be nation wide, but providing to multiple countries outside of the United States. McJak supplies its gourmet candy to about seven different countries, but primarily in Canada. McJak now sells lollipops of 25 flavors, fudge, kettle corn, and cotton candy. The company, which began as a very small family business, has grown unbelievably and calls Medina, Ohio, its home.

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1087 Branch Road

1087 Branch Road

Many years ago, a farm occupied the land that McJak sits on today. The original, 9,000 square foot, building was established in 1992, only ten years after the business began. It was a very small, family run local business, which was then bought out by Larry Johns in 2000. He knew that this 18-year-old business had tremendous potential and room to grow. Image Courtesy of McJak Candy Company View File Details Page

The Beginning

The Beginning

When the company started, the candy was made entirely by hand. Not a single machine was used, but as time went by the company has expanded tremendously, now having up-to-date machinery. The company only employed about 15 individuals but now employs 85 full-time and part-time employees. It began to only sell candy locally but now is an international company. In other words, the business had a tremendous amount of room to grow since its opening in 1982 and has done just that through the years of its existence. Image Courtesy of Larry Johns View File Details Page

Out with the Old

Out with the Old

Initially, the candy was made slowly and was very labor intensive, only able to make about six lollipops per hour. But, the help of new technology and bigger machines has made it possible to produce it much faster,now producing up to 48,000 lollipops per hour, having a total production of about 250,000 lollipops each day. This exponential production increase was essential to the growth of McJak. Photo Curtesy of Larry Johns View File Details Page

The Old Way of Making Lollipops

The Old Way of Making Lollipops

For the first few years after Johns took over the company, it was much tougher than he expected and the future was not looking bright for McJak. Johns made the decision to switch the company from doing mostly fundraising to focusing on retail. McJak's production was about 80% fundraising when Johns bought it. He reduced the fundraising to only about 10%. Despite the bumps in the road, Johns did not give up, however. He knew he could make this company take off somehow. Image Courtesy of Larry Johns View File Details Page

New Machines

New Machines

Around the time of the 2008 recession, the lollipop business really began to take off. Despite the rough patches during the transition from 80% fundraising to only about 10% and 90% retail, the company began growing very rapidly. Around the time of the recession, the lollipops hit the Wal-Mart stores both around the country and internationally. During the rough economic times, many people lost jobs or had to take pay cuts. This made the lollipop business take off because although parents may not have been able to afford a $7 pack of Gatorade, or a new $20 DVD, they could still buy their kids a small lollipop to keep them happy during the hard times. View File Details Page

Factory Expansions

Factory Expansions

Before this company, a farm stood in the space that is now occupied by Mcjak Candy Company. The first building in 1992 started as only 9,000 square feet. Only 21 years and 4 expansions later, Mcjak occupies roughly 60,000 square feet. As demand for McJak's candy grew, Johns realized his space of production needed to expand. Every few years, these additions were necessary to allow the company to continue growing and allow production to keep up with the growing demand for McJak candy. View File Details Page

Symbol of Growth

Symbol of Growth

The first Wal-Mart truck to make a pick-up at McJak Candy Company in 2011 was a huge symbol of growth for this small business from the year it was started, 1982. This showed the hard work and rapid growth for Medina County. This order of $46,000 was the first of many to come. Because of the hard work put in by Johns and his employees, Mcjak Candy Company is now selling their products internationally. It is no longer a small local business in Medina, Ohio. Photo courtesy of Larry Johns View File Details Page

The Story of Success

The Story of Success

Owner, Larry Johns, took a picture with the new McJak sign after the 2012 expansion. This company, that was a small, local business from Medina, Ohio, and now has transformed into a company selling candy around the world. Johns could not be more proud of his company and thankful for all the people that supported him and helped him get there. This story proves that sometimes you need to take risks to make your dream come true and the road there may not always be easy. Image Courtesy of McJak Candy Company View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Tessa Johns and Lucy Ferut, “McJak Candy Company LLC,” Discover Medina, accessed May 26, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/131.

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