Mary Sue Easter Eggs have filled Easter baskets across Maryland since 1948, but recently their reach has extended farther than ever.
Baltimore-based production for the chocolate-covered creams will total between 3 and 5 million this spring (an exact count for 2013 has not yet been completed), according to Mike Weiss, chief financial officer of Mary Sue Candies.
“If it’s not the most we’ve ever made, it’s certainly getting close to it,” said Weiss, who has worked with the company for the past 11 years.
Read more about Mary Sue Candies’ history in this MDBIZ News profile.
Part of the increase in egg production is attributed to an expanding base of retail buyers, including Kmart, Walmart, Target and CVS stores, outside Maryland.
Eggs are selling out in eastern and southern Virginia, northern Pennsylvania and New York, according to Weiss, and for the first time this year, a few shipments arrived at Kmart stores in Massachusetts.
“We would hope that our distribution will increase to areas farther west and north and south, but right now, we’re pretty happy with the way things went this year,” he said.
Online sales have also expanded the customer base. The week before Easter, the company will receive up to 100 online orders per day, he said.
“A lot of people who have moved to other places, they go on the website and buy eggs because they know they can get them there,” he said.
So, what flavor is the customer favorite?
The answer depends on the size. Vanilla wins among the smallest multi-packs, the 1.5-ounce eggs and one-pounders. Coconut is most popular among the quarter-pound and half-pound eggs. Close behind in all sizes is peanut butter, followed by chocolate and nut and fruit, Weiss said.
“The truth of the matter is, people like good old plain vanilla. Personally, I like coconut,” he said with a laugh. “But we don’t care. If you want vanilla, we’ll make you vanilla. You want coconut, we’ll make you coconut.”