2 Partnerships That Bear Sweet Rewards

Albanese maze

It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, much less the time of day—the candy shop at the Albanese Confectionery Group’s headquarters in Merrillville, Ind., is full. So it makes sense that the supplier of gummy candies, including its popular 12 Flavor Gummi Bears, would partner with area retailers to spread some of that goodwill.

County Line Orchard sits on a dusty rural road in Hobart, Ind. In the fall, just before the leaves start to turn colors, the idyllic farm welcomes thousands of apple and pumpkin pickers for hayrides, a petting zoo and good food. Albanese and Indiana retailer Luke Oil, owner and operator of County Line Orchard and longtime partner of the confectioner, struck a deal this year that yielded, of all things, an Albanese gummy bear cut into a soybean field.

Click through to read more about this partnership, and another that Albanese forged with Valparaiso, Ind.-based Family Express.

“Our Albanese maze is unique because it’s County Line Orchard’s first soybean maze,” said Ryan Richardson, vice president of development for Luke Oil. “After deciding we would do a 1-acre soybean maze that would take around 10 to 15 minutes to complete, we moved on to the design phase. ... What could be more fun than getting lost in a giant gummy bear?”


The partnership extends to pumptoppers that promote the gummies and the apple orchard at all of Luke Oil’s 26 locations. And during the first weekend of operation, the farm’s store, used to selling seasonal trinkets, fruit and homemade doughnuts, sold out of the Albanese gummy candy.

“Aside from the pumptoppers at the Luke stores, we are very actively promoting the partnership through social media,” Richardson said. “Between County Line Orchard and Albanese ... we have nearly 150,000 fans. The maze design and related posts have been shared thousands of times across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.”

The second partnership came to the confectioner from Valparaiso, Ind.-based Family Express. The 68-store operator reached out to Albanese to see if the company would be interested in working with them on a new gummy-candy-flavored Squeeze Freeze product, Family Express’ proprietary dispensed carbonated slushy program.

The Albanese research and development team got to work on two gummy-bear varieties based on its blue raspberry and orange sherbet flavors. The result is a true-to-color-and-flavor offering that hits close to home for many Indiana residents.