Growth by Aquisition
Early in the 1970s, the company grew for the first time through acquisition of another candy company. Fenn Brothers of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was purchased, adding their famous Butter Brickle brand to the Heath family of products. Their existing Heath nougat-manufacturing plant was closed and the equipment moved to Robinson, finding a new home in the old candy factory on South Jackson Street. A second Fenn operation, an ice cream flavor manufacturing facility in Belmont, California, continued to operate in that location as part of the Heath Company until March of 1986, when it was closed. During the '70s, the entire production area was involved in numerous renovation, relocation, and replacement projects. Nearly every piece of equipment at the plant was either replaced or modernized during a six-year program. One major addition during this period was the chocolate processing plant, eliminating the company's dependence upon outside suppliers for its chocolate needs. This was housed in the former Pepsi plant, which was vastly renovated to accept the new equipment from Switzerland. The chocolate plant was then adjoined to the candy plant via the addition of a huge warehouse.
New continuous toffee cooking equipment, perhaps the most significant change in the Heath manufacturing process, was installed in 1978. This all but eliminated the huge copper cooking kettles which had been a part of the Heath toffee process since its inception.