Former NECCO Executive Launches Crowdsourcing Campaign to Save the Company

Al Gulachenski is hoping to raise $20 million as part of a bid to buy Revere-based New England Confectionery Co.

Colorful NECCO Wafers are inspected

Photo by Olga Khvan

The candy man, it turns out, cannot—or at least not alone.

Revere-based New England Confectionery Co., the maker of the NECCO Wafer, is in peril. The company could shut down as early as next month, and Al Gulachenski, its former chief executive, is making a last-ditch effort to raise the funds needed to keep the lights on with an online crowdsourcing campaign. The campaign is not going well.

As one does in the dot com age when seeking a benefactor, a knight in moneyed armor, a golden ticket of sorts, Gulachenski started a GoFundMe to preserve NECCO. He’s seeking $20 million to “show the power of the people can overcome corporate greed” and make a bid of his own for the flailing company. As of 11:02 a.m. on Wednesday—six days after the GoFundMe went live—he had raised $1,710.

Though Gulachenski’s current war chest is markedly smaller than his desired total, the former executive has more-than tripled his funds to save the nostalgia-entrenched company since the Boston Globe reported on the campaign on Tuesday. In a post to the GoFundMe, Gulachenski said he anticipates “some institutions” will foot much of the bill, and he pledged to donate up to $10 million on his own, should the $20 million mark be reached.

On the fundraising page, Gulachenski emphasized the candy-maker’s local roots, and does his best to rally NECCO lovers far and wide to save “this historic piece of USA and Boston heritage.”

In March, New England Confectionary Co. announced it was in desperate need of a buyer and could be forced to lay off 395 employees if no one comes forward. The company, which is the single-largest employer in Revere, has been operating for 171 years and makes Sweethearts, Mary Janes, and several other confections on top of its famous NECCO Wafers.