A local Pittsburgh area marketing hero of mine passed away earlier this week Frank Sarris, founder and owner of Sarris Candies of Canonsburg, PA.
Here was a remarkable man who was dedicated to his business, community and family and did it all successfully and with class. We can all use a few more heroes like Frank Sarris.
How do I know this?
No…I never had the pleasure of meeting the man – sure wish I did – but, I’m a loyal customer and longtime fan of his candy (especially Sarris chocolate covered pretzels – the best in America) and I’ve followed his company’s story for years.
Here’s a wonderful obituary written by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Don Hammond. And, here are just a few of the many highlights in the obit of Frank Sarris’ life and brand that made him so special to me and to a ton of people:
- He started his professional life as a forklift operator when he and his wife, Athena, began experimenting with making candy over 50 years ago in the basement of their home. Now Sarris Candies is a popular name throughout Western Pennsylvania and you can buy them at retail stores throughout the region. And, lots of kids sell them to raise money for their school activities too.
- He and his wife had a terrific bond and she’s credited with encouraging him to keep perfecting his candy in the basement while she kept working as a secretary. And, with all their success, they lived for 33 years (of their more than 50 years in the business) in an apartment over their candy store while putting their money back into the operation
- Frank was named Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year in 2001 by the Pittsburgh office of the U.S. Small Business Administration and named one of the nation’s top four small-businesspeople at a White House ceremony attended by President George W. Bush.
- The Sarris family has given millions to help Pittsburgh area universities, hospitals and their local neighborhoods
And, anytime I’ve ever read about the Sarris family or heard a story about them the following adjectives were always used kind, caring, smart, integrity, character, humble.
Here’s my question for you, “What’s your obituary going to be?”
Strive to be like Frank Sarris.
Frank’s story proves that it’s possible to be successful in every role Brand You plays and you can also do it with class.
Sweet dreams Candy Man. May God grant his peace to you and your family.
P.S.: I believe a big reason why Sarris Chocolate Covered Pretzels are the best in America is because they leave a little salt on their pretzels and their milk chocolate simply rocks!