Sweethearts are the undisputed emperor of Valentine's Day candy. They're absurd, vaguely tasty, and packed with more than your recommended daily allotment of nostalgia. Unfortunately, Sweethearts are no more. At least, they're temporarily no more.
The New England Confectionary Co. (Necco stood for something!) went out of business in 2018, taking the original chalky hearts candy with it. Conversation hearts are the nation's most popular Valentine's Day candy, according to retailer CandyStore.com, and Sweethearts make up the majority of those sales. The bulk candy retailer estimates that there will be an 80% drop in conversation heart purchases with Sweethearts off the shelf, because who wants some knock-off with slogans like "smdh"?
Necco, which began making Sweethearts in 1901, went out of business last year. That spelled the potential end of its products, including Sweethearts, Clark bars, and Necco Wafers. The company was later purchased at auction and later still sold to Spangler Candy Co., known for its Dum Dum lollipops and candy canes. By the time the company was acquired there wasn't enough time to produce the massive pile of Sweethearts America craves, reports CandyStore.com. The retailer also notes that the old Necco factory made an unfathomable 100,000 pounds of Sweethearts every day.
That's a tough break if you were leaning on the hearts to tell someone you think they're a "Cutie Pie." However, there's no need to panic, the hearts will be back in full force next year. Kirk Vashaw, CEO of Spangler, says, "We are looking forward to announcing the relaunch of Sweethearts for the 2020 Valentine's Day season." Hallelujah.
If you're desperate, the candy isn't 100% unavailable. You can find a box here and there if you dig, but it's going to cost you. The candy is also at least a year old. On Amazon, you can find four 1-ounce boxes for $9.22. Over on eBay, the top listing shows an 8-ounce bag for $12.50. Or you could just get a different brand. There are plenty of others out there.
But there's no way to tell someone you love them like going to absurd lengths to pay too much for a box of sugar hearts that say, "Call me."