David Klein, the originator and founder of the gourmet jelly bean craze in 1976 who sold his business interest in Jelly Belly jelly beans to his partner in 1980, is trying to make a comeback with other candy inventions. His new candies are taking on cruder and tackier names, though it seems there is a market for it now. One of his comebacks has to do with topping the Jelly Belly flavors.
Klein worked for a nut and candy store who asked others to invest in the idea of creating a smaller jelly bean with unique flavors that tasted like their flavored names. He went to a family-owned candy company to have them further invest in his confectionery creation. This became the birth of the gourmet jelly beans known as Jelly Belly. Klein did the initial legwork and marketing of the brand.
Before the jelly beans would later become a huge success, thanks to President Ronald Reagan's years in the White House during the 1980s, the candy company bought out Klein's interest for $4.8 million in 1980. Here are some other businesses that missed their window of opportunity in striking it rich.
John and Forrest Mars, the owners of the candy company Mars, were approached by Universal Pictures in 1981 to get permission to use M&M candies in one of their upcoming films. It was also cross promotion where Mars would then promote the movie upon its release. The brothers said no to the deal. Universal went to its competitor, Hershey, which agreed to let them use its Reese Pieces. The film was none other than Spielberg's blockbuster classic "E.T."
Up until 1957 Schlitz had been the No. 1 beer in America. Robert Uihlein, the head of Schlitz Brewing in Milwaukee, was getting tired of being No. 2 behind Budweiser. In the 1970s, he decided to create a beer that took less time to brew, from 45 days to 15 days, replace barley malt with corn syrup and switch to another foam stabilizer. Suddenly, Schlitz's new beer not only tasted terrible, the cheaper ingredients tended to dissolve much faster. All the sediment at the bottom of the glass made it look like snot beer. Schlitz's reputation and sales never recovered and the plant closed in 1981.
William Orton, president of the Western Union Telegraph Co., was approached by Gardiner Greene Hubbard to sell a new patent for the telephone in 1876. Orton thought it was an interesting novelty, but a telephone was just an electrical toy. Western Union was primed for this invention but turned it down. Bell went on to create American Telephone and Telegraph -- AT&T.