After more than 30 years in the industry, Arnott’s of Australia has been acquired by Cotton Candy Imports.
Founder Evan Arnott, who launched the company in 1989, says it’s not a spur of the moment decision but was a (long) time coming.
“I have been considering it for several years and the arrival of Covid and the restrictions that came with it, brought things forward,” he explains.
When Arnott started the company he saw a gap in the market for products that are functional but fun. “I always aimed to be innovative and provide unique, functional, fun products that are not at that time available in Australia and reaching out to more than general gift retailers. Relationships with the client base is important.”
However, after more than 30 years it is time for the man who is known at gift fairs for wearing his bowler hat with a light on top, to bow out.
“Back then no one would employ me so I started my own business. It has been a great journey but now there is a lack of motivation and desire, I’m nearly 68, and in the words of Gough Whitlam—it’s time.”
Cotton Candy Imports owner, Iain Marr, has known Arnott for over 20 years and they have always discussed the option of Candy Imports buying Arnott’s.
“He had a strong business,” Marr says. “We moved to new premises last year and as we are looking to expand my wife Elise and I decided it fitted in well, so we made an offer that Evan accepted.
“Arnott’s products complement our business and we will have a seamless transition, same as what we encountered buying CS Nugent last year. These are very exciting times.”
It was important to Arnott to sell to an established, experienced wholesaler who he feels will do the right thing by the business.
“Our name Arnott’s of Australia P/L will be rebranded as Arnott’s Not The Biscuit Co—which is how most of our customers refer to us as. It will go under the Cotton Candy umbrella.”
Indeed, over the years the company has had numerous problems with a certain Aussie biscuit company which carries a similar name.
“We have had numerous problems due to being mistaken for the biscuit company. Regular abusive phone calls e.g. factory closing, why no helal biscuits, etc. We also had the issue of Arnott’s biscuit employees entering trade shows using our company details.”
While Arnott will probably not miss dealing with these kinds of issues, he will miss meeting friends at trade shows in Australia and overseas. However, on a personal level, the future is looking bright.
“I feel it looks rosy. I’m content and looking forward to the next phase of my life without wearing a bowler hat with a light on the top.”