In 1912, in a copper kettle at the Standard Candy Company at Clark & First Avenue in Nashville, TN, America's first combination candy bar was invented. A roundish mound of caramel, marshmallow nougat, fresh roasted peanuts and real milk chocolate; its renegade shape was more difficult to wrap than the conventional rectangular or square shapes of the day. More importantly, this was the first time multiple elements were being mass-produced in a retail confection. Previous to the advent of the Goo Goo Cluster, candy bar manufacturing consisted of bars solely using chocolate, caramel or taffy. The Goo Goo Cluster represented the first time a bar consisted of more than just one principal ingredient.
The recipe was a joint undertaking by Mr. Howell Campbell, Sr. and Mr. Porter Moore, the original plant supervisor back in 1912. Mr. Campbell is said to have blended chocolate the same way fine whiskey is blended. He acted as official taster and was very particular about the quality of all the ingredients. All of the ingredients that go into a Goo Goo Cluster are foods your taste buds remember: luscious caramel, smooth creamy marshmallow nougat, and fresh roasted peanuts all covered with a thick coating of real milk chocolate. The Goo Goo Cluster recipe hasn’t changed over the years, although the production method has undergone a few tweaks. Goo Goos used to be hand dipped and sold without wrappers under glass at drug store candy counters. With the dawn of hand wrapping, ladies would swaddle the Goo Goo Clusters in tinfoil. Eventually, machinery was put in place to automate wrapping the Goo Goo Cluster, which is how they’re sold in stores today.
The story of how the candy came to be named comes in many versions, but two stand out over all the rest, and only one is true! The most popular myth is due to Goo Goo’s longtime partnership with the Grand Ole Opry. To this day, many people think the partnership was the basis for the candy’s name (GOO = Grand Ole Opry). However, the Opry was formed in 1925, 13 years after the candy was introduced. The marketing campaign – ‘Go get a Goo Goo, it’s good!’ – was such a success that many still identify one with the other.
The true tale of how the candy got it’s name is that Howell Campbell was riding the streetcar to work one day and told his fellow passengers about this new candy he’d made. He mentioned that he was struggling to find a name for it, and a few passengers made suggestions, but nothing excited him. Eventually conversation shifted, and a school teacher inquired about Campbell’s young son. Campbell told her that he’d just said his first words: “goo goo”. The teacher exclaimed, “That’s what you should call your candy – Goo Goo!” From there the first slogan was born: “Goo Goo! It’s so good, people will ask for it from birth.”
Standard Candy Company, LLC
116 3rd Ave S, Nashville, TN 37201