The Colorado family who won a chance to own and operate a candy factory in Hawthorne have decided to sell it back to the owner.
Andrew Maas, 39, a marketing consultant from Colorado Springs, recently won The Gold Ticket treasure hunt and the grand prize of a candy factory in Hawthorne.
The game of skill required an entrance fee of $49.98 to be one of up to 1,000 participants in each of the 50 states. The Maas family ended up taking part in four of those contests and then received the riddle for the grand prize contest as a result.
That riddle was conjured up by the “Candyman” David Klein’s partner Stephanie Thirtyacre. Klein helped develop the Jelly Belly brand, then went on to create his own candy factories, including Candyman Kitchens. Earlier this month Klein announced on the contest Facebook page that a contestant had claimed the gold ticket.
The 4,000 square-foot building located in downtown Hawthorne has recently been renovated, according to Klein. It has new paint, a new roof, air conditioning unit and HVAC system and is up to code for manufacturing candy.
Klein said he thought Maas would have been a great factory owner, but he’s happy for him that he made the decision to not uproot his family.
“I was hoping for a Willy Wonka ending,” Klein said in a phone interview. “I sent him a check and paid him for the building.”
Klein said he and Maas are keeping the deal under wraps as to the amount he paid for the building, and the plans for what happens next are yet to be determined.
“We love the city of Hawthorne,” he added.
On Monday evening Thirtyacre posted on Facebook that Klein plans to use the building for multiple takeout restaurants. One of the contest participants, Milijana Radulovic, will move to Hawthorne to assist in the endeavor.
Meanwhile, Maas said his family has made some plans for his winnings.
“After careful consideration and knowing how much we love Colorado, we realized it did not make sense for our family to move to Florida to take on the candy factory,” he said. “We are so grateful for the whole experience of the hunt and thankful to David Klein for agreeing to a cash offer for the property. We look forward to investing some of the winnings along with donating to some mission organizations we have been a part of in the past and deeply respect. We love being a part of such an uplifting story and want to pay that joy forward.”