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Chew on This!

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William Wrigley Jr. moved from Philadelphia to Chicago in 1891, on a mission to sell his father’s special Wrigley's Scouring Soap. To encourage shopkeepers to carry his product, Wrigley would throw in a can of baking soda. When the baking soda turned out to be more popular than the soap, Wrigley put his efforts into just selling the baking soda. This time, he offered free packs of chewing gum to sweeten the deal.

Once again, Wrigley’s incentive turned out to be more popular than his product. Not being the kind of man to let an opportunity slip through his fingers, Wrigley began manufacturing chewing gum exclusively. His company’s early gum products, called Sweet Sixteen Orange and Lotta Gum, were a huge hit amongst the youth. Popularity quickly spread to the general public. With the release of the iconic Spearmint and Juicy Fruit brands in 1983, Wrigley’s company positioned itself as the manufacturer of America’s favorite chewing gum. Soon, the beloved Doublemint brand, with the famous Doublemint Twins, joined the lineup.

Beyond providing a popular product, Wrigley proved to be an excellent employer. Wrigley’s factory in Chicago established a health and welfare department in 1916. Employees were given both Saturdays and Sundays off by 1924. And when the Great Depression sunk the nation into an economic crisis, Wrigley implemented a minimum wage to help his employees through the trying time.

During World War II, Wrigley lost access to their suppliers. Rather than risk compromising their brand with subpar ingredients, William Wrigley Jr.’s son, Phillip, having taken control of the company after his father's death in 1932, halted production altogether. Instead, Wrigley supported the war effort by sending the remaining supply to the Armed Forces overseas and began offering Orbit, a wartime substitute made from available ingredients, to the public. After the war, Wrigley reinstated production, but continued to offer Orbit and developed additional products: Big Red and Freedent.

Today, Wrigley’s company, now a subsidiary of Mars Incorporated, is valued at $4.4 billion. It continues to be the largest chewing gum manufacturer and marketer in the world, offering tasty gum and fresh breath to the world.