Price of sugar and labor hit candy cane maker

This candy factory is running full tilt.

Hammond's Candies in Denver, Colorado, has crafted and packed candy canes for more than a century, and is readying these striped sweets to dangle from trees once again this Christmas.

But this year, business is anything but sweet.

Andrew Schuman is the president of Hammond's Candies.

"There's only so much a person is going to pay for a gourmet candy cane, so we're just going to have to eat some of that as a company and just become more efficient."

Global sugar prices are at a decade high. Supply chain snarls have held up packaging materials from China. High gas prices hit transportation costs. And while Schuman is paying higher wages, he still can't find enough workers.

"It's been really hard hiring workers this year. In fact, this has probably been, in the 15 years that I've been involved with Hammond's, the hardest it's been to hire workers. Not only was it hard to hire them, the wages have kept creeping up as well, and so it's been really competitive out in the market place just with the lack of labor force and so it's been a little bit of a bottleneck for us."

The bottleneck comes as American consumers are decking halls and decorating trees with renewed festive fervor.

A spokesperson for Sam's Club, a unit of Walmart, told Reuters that customers are hot for holiday sweets, including candy canes.

It's a demand some suppliers simply cannot meet.

"We have had to turn away business this year. I wouldn't say that it is 30% of the overall business, but we certainly probably had to turn away 10% of the business."

Meaning some stockings might have to find other stuffers.

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