Good & Plenty
February 24th, 2015

Good & Plenty candy- it’s a nostalgic childhood favorite; a sweet piece of chewy licorice with molasses notes and a recognizable pink or white candy shell. Like all black licorice flavored products, some love it, some hate it. Either way, you’ve probably had some experience with Good & Plenty, but did you know that David Michael & Co. has family connections with the iconic candy?

American Good & Plenty Candies

Let’s travel back to 1893, when the Quaker City Chocolate & Confectionery Company was founded. The founder of the company was William B. Rosskam (who was also involved in the Rosskam Gerstley Company whiskey business. Read more here: Good & Plenty candy was originally the lead product for Quaker City, but was sold as loose penny candy, and did not have an official name. It was not boxed until the 1950’s, and according to our sources, William named the candy after he won a bet at a race track on a horse named “Good & Plenty.”


William was succeeded as President by his nephew; Lester Rosskam Sr. Lester’s brother was Walter Rosskam, who is the connecting piece to David Michael. Walter was then President and Chairman of David Michael, and his three grandchildren oversee the company today: Skip Rosskam, President and COO; George Rosskam, Executive Vice President of Operations; and Steve Rosskam, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing.


Eventually, Lester Sr.’s son, Lester Jr. took over Quaker City. Under Lester Jr., Good & Plenty became the very first nationally branded candy. Lester made this happen by using distribution to movie houses, as well as his creative Marketing mind. The candy was a stable product, and did not melt, so it allowed for easy transfer. Lester’s marketing campaign behind this push featured a cartoon railroad engineer by the name of Choo-Choo Charlie. Charlie was put on TV with an unforgettable jingle based on the song, The Ballad of Casey Jones (, and this helped Good & Plenty to get national distribution beyond movie houses! Some of you may still remember the catchy song:

Once upon a time there was an engineer
Choo-Choo Charlie was his name, we hear.
He had an engine and he sure had fun
He used Good & Plenty candy to make his train run.
Charlie says “Love my Good & Plenty!”
Charlie says “Really rings my bell!”
Charlie says “Love my Good & Plenty!”
Don’t know any other candy that I love so well!

In 1973, the company was sold to Warner Lambert and has had many owners since; now owned by Hersey. Lester Rosskam Jr. went on to further his career in confection and become president of Estee, which was the first company in the US to offer sugar-free candy.

Here at David Michael, confection innovation is definitely in our genes!

Here are some Choo-Choo Charlie artifacts from George Rosskam’s personal collection:

Vintage Good & Plenty Whistle

The famous Choo-Choo Charlie Whistle which kids would play when the jingle came on TV.

Vintage Good & Plenty Comic Book

The Choo-Choo Charlie Comic Book- Charlie was a much loved character.

Vintage Good & Plenty Board Game

The Choo-Choo Charlie Board Game


In case your nostalgia for the Philly-born sweet and spicy candy kicks in and you can’t find it in stores, stop at the Old Eagle Tavern for a locally brewed Good & Plenty beer. The darker ale is brewed with star anise and aged on La Columbe coffee, which gives it the scent of candy and licorice. As Charlie would say, “don’t know any other candy that I love so well.”

DM Blog: 2014 Summer Fancy Food® Show – Final Thoughts
August 1st, 2014

For our last glimpse into this summer’s Fancy Food Show, here’s a handful of products that really stood out to me either because they are riding a high trend or because they are incredibly unique…

Pure Sheep’s Milk Yogurt by Only Ewe

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2014 Summer Fancy Food® Show: Drink Up
July 24th, 2014

So we’ve covered savory and sweet products, now here are some of the beverages that caught my eye at this summer’s Fancy Food Show.

Ayala Herbal Water

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2014 Summer Fancy Food® Show: For Your Sweet Tooth
July 18th, 2014

As promised, here’s some of the sweet side of innovation that we experienced at this summer’s Fancy Food Show.

Tcho Chocolate

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2014 Summer Fancy Food® Show: The Savory Side
July 11th, 2014

While it’s hard to believe that it’s already July, another fabulous Summer Fancy Food Show has come and gone. This summer’s NASFT (National Association for the Specialty Food Trade) Summer Fancy Food Show was hosted in NYC June 29th through July 1st and was attended by foodies from around the world.

As always, walking the Fancy Food Show floor means an eyeful (and many mouthfuls) of innovation and adventure. Check out some of the savory products that stood out to me this year.

NASFT - Snikiddy Vegetable Chips
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Rosskam, Gerstley & Co.
June 3rd, 2014

Innovation has run in the blood of David Michael owners since 1896 – but did you know that whiskey-making is also burrowed in their DNA? In 1854 Isaac Rosskam partnered with Henry Gerstley and incorporated a liquor company in Addison, NY that would open one year later. In 1865, Rosskam, Gerstley & Co. moved to Philadelphia. Through the years, the company launched dozens of successful brands, including American Rye, Top of the Morning and R.G. & Co. Special Reserve. However, Rosskam, Gerstley & Co.’s flagship brand was always Old Saratoga Whiskey, often lovingly referred to as just Saratoga.

Three of Isaac Rosskam’s great great grandsons are currently at the helm of the daily operations here at David Michael & Co., keeping alive the long lineage of entrepreneurial innovators in the Rosskam family. Isaac is great great grandfather of current President and COO Skip Rosskam, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Steve Rosskam and Executive Vice President of Operations George Rosskam.

As Rosskam, Gerstley & Co. grew and prospered, additional offices were opened in the 1870’s and 80’s in Cleveland, Chicago and New York City. Meanwhile in Philadelphia, where distillers and liquor wholesalers were a dime a dozen at the time, the company was determined to find a way to make their product stand apart from the many other choices. And so was born the line-up of Rosskam, Gerstley & Co. giveaway and promotional items that are still considered collectibles today. Check out these gems:


Lithographed serving tray of dogs playing poker:

Rosskam Gerstley & Co. tray -

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New Habits for a Healthier New Year
January 16th, 2014

Working for a flavor company has a ton of perks, as you can probably imagine most of them have to do with food! And you definitely won’t catch me complaining about that. From product samples to sensory insights panels and a building full of people who love sharing food, there’s no shortage of fun, tasty and innovative provisions constantly floating around the DM office. While all of that means I get to constantly work on expanding my palate, it also means that if I don’t stay diligent about it, I’ll also expand my waistline. No, really. In my first couple of months as the Marketing and Consumer Insights Manager at DM I gained just shy of ten pounds. Ten pounds. Just like that! Once I realized that my new job also came with some new weight, I worked hard to shed those pounds and came up with some tactics to make sure it didn’t happen again. Over the years, and with the help of some coworkers who face the same challenges, I’ve been able to strike a better balance between indulging and maintaining a healthy weight.

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The Perks of Probiotics
December 11th, 2013

If you have any interest in the world of food (that extends beyond eating to survive) then you’ve likely heard some buzz lately about probiotics. Simply put, probiotics are essentially a “good” bacteria made up of live microorganisms that naturally occur in the human gut and intestines. Probiotics have some lofty responsibilities in our bodies including aiding with digestion, battling the “not so good” bacteria, strengthening our immune system and overall safeguarding the health of the gastrointestinal tract.

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Montreal Reigns Over Canada’s Foodie Scene
November 20th, 2013

While I’ve heard it said before that Montreal, Quebec is a culinary haven, nothing could have adequately prepared me for my first visit to Canada’s second largest city (Toronto, Ontario is the first). We weren’t shy about the fact that our goal over the long weekend visit was to eat our way through the city. And I’m proud to say: mission accomplished!

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From Cronuts to Duffins: the Fascination with Hybrids
October 29th, 2013

Our fascination with hybrid food soared to a whole new level on May 10, 2013 – the fateful day that the Cronut™ launched on New York’s bakery scene. Created and trademarked by Chef Dominique Ansel, the Cronut combines everything you love about a croissant and a doughnut into one indulgent hybrid pastry.

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