Minority Shareholder Acquires Shelton Mathews Chocolates
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- An upgraded manufacturing facility is just one of the changes in store for Shelton-Mathews Chocolates under its new ownership.Founder Donald H. Mathews, a retired professor of marketing at Youngstown State University, and Jeffrey T. Stover, a medical doctor, today announced the change in ownership. Prior to acquiring the company, Stover, a minority shareholder, had served as Shelton-Mathews' vice president and secretary.Mathews founded the company, which manufactures European style chocolates, in 1991. "I was making candy for about one year as a hobby or experiment, concentrating on product development," he told The Business Journal in a May 1993 interview. "When I first came into this venture, I did not have a business plan, which is the first violation of marketing and business principles. I went on from there -- and violated every principle you could imagine," he said.Mathews said he was going to market his products wholesale or by mail order, but demand led to retail sales. What sets Shelton-Mathews chocolates apart from ordinary chocolates as much as the care with which it is made is what it doesn't contain, he said. Most commercial chocolate contains preservatives and paraffin that allows it to be stored up to two years. Shelton-Mathews recommends that it's candies be eaten within two months.The candy in the store does not last anywhere near that long, such is the demand, Mathews added.Stover said he was initially been attracted to the high-quality product line and grasped the potential for future growth. "When I first tasted these chocolates, I'd never tasted anything as good," he said in a 1997 interview. "You know, it's like that guy [Victor Kiam] in the electric razor commercial. I liked the candy so much I invested in the company." As the sole owner, Stover plans to expand production and distribution, and an upgraded manufacturing facility is in the works, Mathews said. "Stover has the energy, enthusiasm and vision to carry out his ambitious goals, and I am delighted," he added.Though he plans to travel and continue his work as a marketing research consultant, Mathews said he would be available to Shelton-Mathews as a resource and as "institutional memory."Stover said his plans for the company include returning to the Food & Wine Classic at Aspen, Colo., which will be held June 18-20. He also plans to continue the company's long-standing participation in Taste of the Valley for Second Harvest Food Bank, For the Love of Chocolate for the American Red Cross, and the American Holiday arts and crafts show held at the Butler Institute of American Art. In addition, Stover said he expects to participate in the New York Chocolate Show for the first time. The confections produced at the Mahoning Avenue facility have received national recognition since the early days of the company. The chocolates were featured among the showcase prizes that contestants bid for on the popular television game show The Price Is Right. In an October 1996 article, Chocolatier Magazine said, "they've got big-city flair." A Consumers Digest article in December 1996 described the company as "a superstar in the making."Visit Shelton Mathews Chocolates at www.shelton-mathews.com"
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