Today we’d like to introduce you to Jay Brigham.
Jay, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Pecan Deluxe Candy Company was birthed from an ice cream shop in Dallas, Texas called Polar Bear Ice Cream. My grandfather, JC Brigham, purchased the first Polar Bear Ice Cream shop in 1941, located off of Davis Street. Five short years later our most iconic Polar Bear location, on Zang Blvd. near Lake Cliff Park, opened.
My family worked hard formulating award-winning ice cream flavors and ingredients that made the brand a Dallas hot spot.
Pecan Deluxe Candy Company originated in 1950 and opened to make the candies that went into the popular Polar Bear Ice Cream. The name Pecan Deluxe Candy Company was derived from the favored Pecan Krisp candy sold to the retail store locations. In 1960, Pecan Deluxe Candy Company incorporated and made it’s first of many expansions, and began selling ice cream inclusions to other companies.
My grandfather ran the Polar Bear Ice Cream Company up until his passing in 1965, at which time my dad, Bennie Brigham took over. He grew the businesses by expanding the retail stores to over 65 locations, purchasing Ashburn’s Ice Cream in 1972, and continuing to formulate award-winning ice cream flavors while Pecan Deluxe continued to manufacture ingredients for those flavors and other leaders in the dairy industry.
I began working for my dad, in the ice cream plant, when I was just a teen. I would run the freezers, make the 3-gallon cans of ice cream, and do all the “running” for the plant workers on the floor. Some of the same employees I worked with as a child have retired with Pecan Deluxe and some are still employed with us today.
In the early 80’s, as the manufacturing of inclusions proved more lucrative than retail ice cream stores, my father made the business decision to sell the ice cream stores and concentrate solely on Pecan Deluxe Candy Company. As a result, we rapidly grew into one of the most respected ice cream inclusion suppliers in the United States. As the business grew, so did the need for our facilities, so we broke ground on our current facility located in Lone Star Park in 1994, expanded into the United Kingdom in 2000 and by 2007 already required a 40,000 square foot production and warehouse expansion at our Dallas facility.
I was named President and CEO of Pecan Deluxe in 2008 and proudly became the third generation of leadership for the company. We have continued to expand our product and service offerings, as well as, our physical locations. In 2014, we opened a factory in Thailand, making us a global leader in the developing and manufacturing of ingredients and inclusions, servicing North and South America, the EMEA and APAC regions of the globe. We’ve expanded our product offerings to appeal to many sectors of the food and beverage industry, including: ice cream, yogurt, beverage, bakery, confectionary, snacking, cereal, food service and restaurants.
Just this month we broke ground on another 50,000 sq. ft. of production space here in Dallas to accommodate additional equipment for our core product lines, as well as, expansion of other areas in which we anticipate future growth. This development will bring us up to a total of 135,000 sq. ft. of production space here in Dallas while providing additional local employment opportunities.
As proud as we are of the rich history of Pecan Deluxe, we are equally excited about our future and the direction in which we are heading.
Has it been a smooth road?
No, it most certainly hasn’t always been a smooth road. Growing a company from a small shop with small margins into a global company isn’t always seamless.
Whether learning new food regulations, trade legislation from country to country, making strategic decisions on how to vertically expand into other market segments, determining how to best distribute products to small mom and pop shops while simultaneously meeting the strict requirements of the largest global brands, I have learned that surrounding myself with good, hard-working people allows for the best opportunity for success.
Before a product is ever made in our plant, a lot of time and resources are spent on the front end with our R&D and culinary innovation team (chefs and marketing department) collaborating with our customers to make sure the products we are developing provide the experience they are ultimately trying to achieve. In addition to the men and women in the plant that work tirelessly to make the final products, we also place a HUGE emphasis on food safety and quality assurance and have a team overseeing that aspect of our business, as well.
I am excited about the future of Pecan Deluxe as we continue to serve customers internationally and grow into new markets in the United States. By having a great team around me, we should continue to experience great growth. I truly believe our sweetest successes are yet to come.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Pecan Deluxe Candy – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Pecan Deluxe is a family-owned, global leader in the manufacturing of inclusions and ingredients for the food and beverage industry. Let’s think yogurt for a moment…current trends show that most people prefer some textural enhancement to their yogurt, whether a crunchy granola or a crisp cookie piece, Pecan Deluxe provides just that, a way to make the ordinary yogurt, EXTRAORDINARY!
I would say Pecan Deluxe is known for our high-quality products and service, customization and innovation. We are committed to giving our customers unsurpassed service and support and speed to market differentiate us from our competition. It is often an intense inventory management game, but we do a very good job of expediting lead times over the standard 6 weeks. Our customers also appreciate the strong partnership between our culinary innovation team (made up of our chefs on staff, R&D team, and marketing) and their teams, typically comprised of R&D/Marketing/Purchasing departments. Our customers often work side-by-side with our staff onsite, providing real-time feedback throughout the development process.
As far as what I am most proud of, as the leader of Pecan Deluxe, is just how far we have come over the years. One of the best things about running a successful business is the degree it enables us to give back. In addition to international and national charities, we support our local charities and try to go above and beyond for our employees, too. We enjoy providing recognition for excellence and monetary incentives for service, free DART passes for our employees, as well as, several special events for the employees and their families throughout the year. One of my family’s most favorite is distributing gifts to the children of our employees at our Christmas event.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
There are many things that make Dallas great, but I would say that having so many options for activities is very appealing. There is truly something for everyone.
The restaurants are unmatched as some of the best chefs have come here to share their craft, the most popular artists in just about every genre of music come to town and we have every size venue to accommodate shows, we have excellent museums, zoos, aquariums and countless entertainment venues from theatres to theme parks. The Brigham family was born and raised in Dallas, too, so it is also home to me.
As far as what I like least…I would have to say traffic. However, it is expected when you have such a great city drawing new residents based on the aforementioned social perks, as well as, excellent cost of living, and the fact that we don’t have a state income tax.
- Address: 2570 Lone Star Drive
- Website: www.pecandeluxe.com