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King Henry's: Portland's majestic candy
Photos and Story by James Hill
by Gary Allen King Henry’s is establishing its empire. The Beaverton-based company now distributes its products to more than nearly 30 states. The company, which uses the slogan "Snacks Fit for a King,"has found its niche in the world of sweets, as well as nuts and trail mix. A recent move to a new 30,000-square-foot Allen Boulevard facility is a further testament to their growing success. The 13-year-old company, started by Trina Davidian and her husband Henry, sells its wares in a number of forms and is characterized by terms unfamiliar to those beyond the industry: "Re-bagger,""Co-packer,"manufacturer of "Private Label"treats. Simply put, the company of 25 workers, manufactures candies, buys product from other companies and "re-bags"it under their own label or packages ("co-packs?) products for other companies. "For example, some of our items we do not make,"said Trina Davidian, CFO of the company. "We do not make licorice, but we buy the best product from a company that makes only licorice. We receive the product and then package it according to the specs of the product."King Henry’s customers are primarily independent distributors. However, "We also sell direct to some of the large chain stores, gift shops, catering companies, etc.,"she said. "The end user is consumers who buy the product from their local store, colleges (including Portland Community College), etc."Their business model centers on looking for independent distributors in other states to hawk their products to local accounts. That model, and Davidian’s other business acumen, was honed thanks to PCC’s Small Business Management program. Davidian is in her second year of a two-year sequential class on small business. She praised instructor Galen Sarvinski, as well as the program in general. "As a business owner, I believe everyone should be required to take this course before going into business, or while they are starting a new business,"Davidian said. "Everyone would benefit by the curriculum in the classes, and also the support of other business owners."Davidian said that thanks to hard work and some good luck, the company enjoys an enviable position in its market – at least locally. "After being in business around this area for (more than ) 13 years, and giving the best service and products to our customers, our customers have been very loyal to us, just as we have been loyal to them,"Davidian said. "They have helped us to become what we are today."Apparently, others feel the same. A Texas film crew arrived at King Henry’s last week to highlight the company as one of four small businesses in the United States. The film crew, working for PBS, captured one of Sarvinski’s field trips to local businesses, which just happened to be at King Henry’s that week.