GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. " Christmas came early for the firefighters of Station One in downtown Grand Junction Wednesday morning, when the Salvation Army came bearing sweet gifts: Enstrom Candies.
Boxes and boxes and more boxes of Enstrom Candies.
The Grand Junction manufacturer of world-famous toffee donated 12 pallets of toffee to the Salvation Army.
That's nearly 1,400 pounds per pallet, and at $18.95 a pound, the donation topped $300,000.
But that's not why Doug Simons, president of Enstrom Candies, donated the candy.
"That's not important to me," said Simons, referring to the money. "It's just an opportunity for us to help a lot of people. I hope it made a lot of folks happy."
Three circumstances collided to form the basis of the giveaway.
"We're a philanthropic longtime Grand Junction company and that's just how we operate," said Simons. Also, sales were off 5-6 percent, which is unusual for the candy maker that ships throughout the globe.
Also, the candy didn't reach up to the company's normal high standards. It was discovered that the chocolate didn't stick to the toffee after the candy had been frozen, Simons said.
Because of those three factors, Simons decided to spread the joy and give away candy. He called various charitable organizations in the Grand Valley, asking if they'd like some candy.
"We're probably going to give away 40,000 pounds," Simons said. "It's a hoot. We're just blessed to be able to do it."
Wednesday morning, the Salvation Army found itself buried in almond toffee, with a cadre of willing and enthusiastic volunteers to distribute it around town.
First was Catholic Outreach, which received two pallets, and Food Bank of the Rockies benefited by receiving three pallets, said Tyler Riehl, Salvation Army advisory board chair and volunteer.
"We're distributing it as quickly as we can to needy families," and to the firefighters and rest homes throughout the valley. They also distributed it to media outlets that promote Salvation Army programs.
"It's an incredible donation," Riehl said.
Grand Junction Fire Chief Ken Watkins agreed.
"The people who work here will sure appreciate it," said Watkins. The firefighters work 24-hour shifts, changing over at 8 a.m.
"It's great Salvation Army thought of this for folks who work during the holidays."
Riehl echoed a comment Simons told him: "Sometimes business challenges become opportunities."
"It's a lot of fun and it's very rewarding," Simons said.
Reach Marija B. Vader at email@example.com.