RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Candy is something Derek Lawson thinks about every day.
“I know it’s blasphemy, but I don’t eat candy,” he said.
So how does a man who doesn’t eat candy create a 5-pound, 1-foot tall record-setting gummy bear?
“My brother asked me what am I going to do now and sort of flippantly off the cuff I said, ‘Guess we’ll make giant gummy bear,’” said Lawson.
Lawson said that after a few failed attempts in the candy business, he and his brother struck gold—in creating different gummy molds.
“When I started this gummy bear thing, the kids flocked to my house because I made gummy hearts and brains – just something ghoulish to give out at Halloween and kids lined up. We had to make [them] part of the product line,” he said.
Fifteen years later, his factory in Raleigh makes 6,000 giant gummy bears a day. The factory also produces 300 different gummy and hard candies. His inspiration comes from anything and everything.
He’s often referred to as a modern day Willie Wonka and can be spotted sporting a similar cane, top hat and coat.
Perhaps Lawson’s biggest inspiration behind his business are childhood memories.
“Every one of us was a kid,” said Lawson. “Some of the greatest things to happen was to visit a candy store.”