This History of The R.M. Palmer Company
R.M. Palmer Company has been crafting fun, seasonal chocolate novelties since 1948. Today, the R.M. Palmer Company is considered one of the top 75 confectioners in the world. From their headquarters in West Reading, PA, Palmer’s 850 dedicated employees design, produce, package and ship more than 500 unique products to nearly 100,000 retail locations in North America – making it one of America’s largest and most innovative confectioners.
The R.M. Palmer Company Factory in Reading, Pennsylvania R.M. Palmer Company has been crafting seasonal chocolate novelties since 1948. What began as one man's dream has grown into a collection of holiday novelties loved by millions of people. Today, 850 dedicated employees design, produce, package and ship more than 500 unique products from Palmer's headquarters in West Reading, PA – making it one of America's largest and most innovative confectioners.
Through the years, Palmer has captured the nostalgia of the holidays with hand-decorated chocolate novelties displayed in their signature full-color, window box packaging. These beloved novelties have transformed Easter baskets, Christmas stockings and Valentine's cards into fun memories using Palmer's whimsical "personalities" capturing the imaginations of children (and grown-ups) everywhere.
Anchored by icons with names like Baby Binks, Peter Rabbit and Flopsy, Palmer has turned figureless chocolates into exciting characters with personality. R.M. Palmer Company has left their mark on an entire industry, holding patents for unique designs and innovative manufacturing processes alike. In fact, Palmer is the leading manufacturer of hollow bunnies in North America.
Palmer's products don't just look great; for Palmer, taste and quality are equally important – from creamy, smooth milk chocolate and famous crunchy Double Crisp to delicious filled candies of all shapes. Palmer offers a wide assortment of sweet treats for holidays, celebrations and every day enjoyment.
R.M. Palmer Company – proudly "Making Fun®" by manufacturing innovative chocolate novelties for over 65 years. Find Palmer products at a store near you today and see why we say "If it isn't Palmer, it's just!"
1920 Founder, Richard M. Palmer, Sr. is born on January 5th in the town of Reading, PA.
Richard M. Palmer, Sr. 1942 Graduates from the College of Business Administration at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA and later serves as captain in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII. Palmer marries the lovely Vivian Golden and has three children – Richard M., Jr., Thomas C. and Mary Marshall Palmer, plus six grandchildren and two great-grandsons. A family man at heart!
With an initial investment of $25,000 dollars, equivalent to $245,000 today, Richard Palmer, Sr. purchases some used equipment and rents an old warehouse in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania where the R.M. Palmer Company is formed. With only four employees and four products that included Baby Binks, Bunny Binks, Daddy Binks and Hen & Egg, Mr. Palmer started calling on W.T. Grant Co. 25 Cent Stores. They immediately fell in love with Baby Binks and agreed to a trial display for the month of November, well before Easter. Despite the off-season timing, Baby Binks was an instant success and the 25 Cent Store chain came back with a $20,000 order for Easter, taking the R.M. Palmer Company off the ground! From day one, the R.M. Palmer Company has taken pride in making bunnies special. Most bows are still hand tied in the Ribbon Department and most icing decorations are still made by hand in the Icing Department – just as they were back in 1948.
1950 The Company relocated to 237 North 11th Street, Reading, PA to make room for more employees and production equipment. R.M. Palmer Factory Location in West Reading, PA.
The Company once again relocates, this time to their current home office of 77 South Second Avenue, West Reading, PA. The business had grown from four employees to 150 and from four products to 50 unique holiday items. This is also where R.M. Palmer, Sr. designed a brand new state-of-the-art hollow chocolate molding line called Line 1. It was the first automatic molding line to manufacturer items at the same time and is still probably the most versatile molding line in the world today, producing 20-30 different items, hand and machine decorated.
Production began in Building 2, the building right next to the main building in West Reading where the Company's product line now included 30-40 Easter items, Palmer's biggest holiday. Christmas items were introduced in 1967, Palmer’s second venture away from Easter. 1966 A modern 60,000 square foot Distribution Center was built in Berkshire Heights. This was where all finished products were stored and shipped from.
1970s Richard M. Palmer, Jr.
Richard M. Palmer, Jr. follows his father's footsteps and joins the family business after earning degrees in Industrial Engineering and Marketing from Mercersburg Academy and Lehigh University.
The R.M. Palmer Company grows to approximately 300 employees.
1972 - 1974
Production started on a new line called the Bindler. This was the first of its kind in the United States because it was able to make solids, double layers and filled centers.
R.M. Palmer celebrates its 25th Anniversary!
Valentine was added to R.M. Palmer’s line of products making it Palmer’s third venture away from Easter..
Created Double Crisp, a combination of chocolate and rice crispies. Palmer was the first to introduce flavor combinations into the seasonal business. Now, in addition to Double Crisp, Palmer offers peanut butter, mint, caramel and fudge, each in many shapes and sizes.
New Production Line 4 was added. This was another "Palmer" design and the first in the world capable of molding either hollow or solid chocolate on the same line - Incredible!
A brand new storage tank was added to Building 2 - capable of holding over 60,000 pounds of creamy chocolate!
"Peanut Buddy" was first sold – another Palmer sweet success!
Added a 60,000 square foot addition to the Distribution Center in Berkshire Heights.
R.M. Palmer employs 600 employees and makes 200 items which now include Halloween products. Trick or Treat!
Production Line 5 was added that spanned over a mile long with approximately 950 different molds.
Production Line 8, which was the most unique molding line in the United States at the time, was put into production. The molding line can decorate up to six colors, fill and mold crisp all at the same time.
Richard M. Palmer, Jr. is honored and inducted into the Hall of Fame!
Completed the installation of the new Coating Manufacturing Department. The innovative system enabled R.M. Palmer to produce their own chocolate coating and produced 10 million pounds the first year.
Began construction of a new 165,000 square foot Distribution Center in Exeter Township, PA. R.M. Palmer grows to employ 750 people and makes 300 different items – Milestones!
An additional 30,000 square feet is added to the Exeter Distribution Center. Two more chocolate storage tanks were installed, increasing total liquid chocolate storage to almost 1 million pounds!
Another 29,600 square feet was added to Exeter Distribution Center.
New Production Line 10 was installed. This line runs a large assortment of shapes that help make Palmer's so unique.
Added new Mesh Bagging Machines for bagging capabilities so R.M. Palmer can bundle its sweet treats into 3.4 ounce bags filled. Enjoy!
A 29,600 square foot cooler addition was designed and built for the Exeter Distribution Center. 1998 R.M. Palmer celebrates its 50th Anniversary!
R.M. Palmer teams with NASCAR along with some of the top Cup drivers to introduce chocolate racecars foiled to be exact replicas of their racecars. It's a race to the finish line with this perfect match!
R.M. Palmer Nascar Ad 2001 Installed Production Line 11, a high speed molding line.
Built another 29,580 square foot cooler addition in Exeter Distribution Center which now totals 330,230 square feet, equivalent to 10 football fields, all under one roof. Now that's a lot of space!
NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and R.M. Palmer introduce a bar named Dale Jr.'s Big Mo'. The name Big Mo' pays homage to Earnhardt, Jr.'s hometown of Mooresville, NC, and is a longtime nickname used for him by his closest friends.
"Baby Binks" turns 60 and remains one of R.M. Palmer's top selling items! 2009 R.M. Palmer Company is recognized as one of the Top 100 Global Confectionary Companies by the American Registry.
R.M. Palmer acquires Merlin Candies of New Orleans and expands the distribution of Merlin bunnies nationwide.
The 1 pound Mega Coin R.M. Palmer introduces the 1 pound Mega Coin. Made with Belgian milk chocolate and standing nearly 8" tall, this delicious gold foiled treat might just be the largest chocolate coin available for sale anywhere. Today the R.M. Palmer Company runs 11 production lines and employs close to 850 dedicated people during peak periods. They offer over 500 unique products and sell to all the major chains through 36 brokerage companies. R.M. Palmer sells internationally. Easter remains Palmer's biggest holiday season followed by Christmas, Valentine, Halloween and Everyday.