Local gets a sweet honor


BLANCHESTER — Terri Hoggatt, a Blanchester native and Wilmington College grad, was inducted into the NCSA Candy Hall of Fame in October for her years of hard work and contribution to the candy industry.

The National Confectionery Sales Association (NCSA), formed in 1899, is dedicated to “Recognition, Fellowship, Education and Mentoring.” The Candy Hall of Fame was founded in 1971, and recognizes lifetime career achievements in the confectionery industry, with induction based on dedication to the overall betterment of the industry.

Hoggatt’s over 30-year career has seen her work for such industries as Passport Foods, Price Candy Co., and Jelly Belly. She’s worked for the gourmet jelly bean company since 2007 where she started in sales as a regional business manager for the east coast. In 2020, she was promoted to senior director in specialty sales.

For the record, she advises her favorite flavor right now is the sizzling cinnamon.

Hoggatt told the News Journal she remembers clearly what it was like when she got nominated.

“It was the week before Thanksgiving (2021) that I received the call that I had been nominated,” she said. “I think a part of you is in a shock. You’re in the industry a long time, you meet a lot of people. But then to think that someone or more than one person are worthy enough of what you contributed over the years to be a part of this very special group of people.”

The ceremony took place in Tampa, Florida where she was joined by friends and family.

“It’s all the pomp and circumstance you can imagine,” she said. “It makes you feel almost like a movie star.”

She received a plaque for the Hall and a special pin to wear at candy industry events.

Looking back at her career, it all started after she graduated from Wilmington College in 1985. She looked through many wanted ads and found one for Cutlery World, where she spent the first part of her career. She later moved to California and then to Tennessee for work.

She then moved to New York and while she was there she decided to find new work. While she spoke with her colleague Steven Henley, he offered an opportunity to enter into the “gourmet food and candy world.”

“It was such a big difference,” she said. “Even though (the industry) is very big, it’s also very small … it’s a very tight-knit industry and you meet a lot of people.”

When it came to Jelly Belly she remembers another colleague of hers encouraged her to apply for an open sales position. Hoggatt wasn’t sure if she wanted “work in sales all the time” and thought it would be filled with a lot of “no’s.” But her brother Mike encouraged her with the mindset of “every no is an opportunity for the future.”

Her advice to younger generations or for anyone out there is to find what you like and talk to people.

“When I was the beginner I didn’t ask as many questions. But as I gained in my confidence I then realized — talk to people. Talk to people that you admire,” she said. “In our mentoring program, we encourage them to ask what people do before people like talking about their work.”

She also believes that business has to be done respectively to grow.

“That respect will come back to you,” she said.

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

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