Russell Stover Candies

2013 Economic Development Corporate Investment and Community Partnership Award
Montrose Economic Development Corporation is pleased to present the “2013 Economic Development Corporate Investment and Community Partnership Award” to Russell Stover Candies in honor of their 40 years of investment and commitment to the community of Montrose. 

In the early 1970s, Russell Stover Candies began the process of selecting a site for their 4th candy factory.  They wanted a location that was at a high altitude because of the effect it has on the candy making process. Chocolates and whipped cream created at high altitude are resistant to altitude pressure when being shipped over the Continental Divide. 

Montrose was one of the locations under consideration, and after collaborative efforts between the City of Montrose and MEDC (then called Montrose Industrial Development) the Company built its 4th candy factory here in 1973.  Russell Stover Candies was the first manufacturing company to locate in Montrose paving the way for the recruitment of additional primary employers. 

Their 305,000 square foot factory has provided economic wealth to the community in many ways.
  • Russell Stover’s has maintained between 400-600 jobs annually over the past 40 years. (The numbers vary by season.) These are good paying jobs that include medical, dental, and vision employee benefits.
  • Buying local is an important part of their commitment to our community. Russell Stover’s purchase many of their ingredients such as milk and cream from local suppliers. This plant alone produces over 12 million pounds of chocolates every year.
  • They also use local businesses for supplies, maintenance and repairs of their plant.
  • In 1995, Russell Stover’s further invested in the community by adding a warehouse to the factory.

In addition to the warehouse in 1995, Russell Stover’s built a 10,000 square foot retail outlet.  This broadened the scope of their economic impact to the community to include sales tax revenues.

The store quickly became a draw for tourists who are known to travel here for no other reason than to purchase the mouthwatering chocolates available there.  It is not uncommon to see tour busses parked at the store.  In 2012 Russell Stover’s once again demonstrated their commitment to Montrose by constructing a brand new 10,000 square foot retail store replacing the original steel building with a design that matches the rustic mountain architecture seen throughout our area.  In addition to the new store construction, the company generously donated their existing steel building to Habitat for Humanity.  Many local contractors were utilized during the construction phase keeping the dollars invested turning in our own economy.

Russell Stover’s is owned by the Ward family. Tom and Scott Ward serve as co-presidents of the company.  They encourage and support philanthropic contributions to the communities where their facilities are located.  It is estimated that Russell Stover’s has provided cash grants in excess of $350,000 to various local nonprofits and youth groups, as well as numerous candy donations.  Paul Minerich, Plant Manager and many of the employees are active in local groups such as churches, Red Coat’s, Toys for Tots, Montrose Recreation District, little league, local schools, MEDC and more. They believe in showing their commitment by being engaged in their community further demonstrating their value to Montrose.

The three principles established by the founders Russell and Clara Stover in 1923 of “quality, service and value” that allowed the company to be successful then are still followed closely today, allowing Russell Stover Candies to remain, “Only the Finest”.

Montrose is fortunate to have Russell Stover Candies as one of our finest primary employers’ and valued member of our community!

Congratulations to the Ward Family, Paul Minerich, Plant Manager and their Employees!

Tidbits of History

  • Russell Stover Candies was founded in 1923 by Clara and Russell Stover in their kitchen in Denver.
  • In 1928 all company operations were moved to Kansas City.
  • In 1960 a controlling interest in Russell Stover Candies was purchased by Louis Ward, a box maker who had been supplying packaging materials to Russell Stover Candies.
  • In 1993 Russell Stover’s acquired Whitman Chocolates adding to its line of famous candies.
  • In 1994, it was a Clara Stover gift box of Russell Stover Chocolates with the famous red bow that was used in the movie Forrest Gump where he stated, “My mama always said, life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”
  • In 2004, Russell Stover Candies Montrose plant shot both a Valentine and Easter story for the television series “unwrapped” and the segments are still aired today on the food network. The local plant also was interviewed by “The Denver Post” and the story made the front page.
  • In 2013, Russell Stover Candies will celebrate their 90th anniversary.