Jim Young went to Australia a few years ago to catch some football action, but he ended up catching a -boom-erang of an idea.
While visiting down under during the Brigham Young University vs. Colorado State football game, Young came across a delicious form of black licorice.Being a connoisseur of the chewy treat, he had a desire to bring the sweet back to the United States.
"I fell in love with it," he said. "I wrote the company on import possibilities, but they weren't interested, they were just a small family business."
But back home in Utah, Young, public relations director for Geneva Steel, couldn't get the taste out of his mouth. He even went so far as to contact the LDS mission home in the area to see if they would send him more. They did.
With every shipment, Young's licorice fetish moved from a casual hobby into a marketable product. The road wasn't easy though, Young didn't have the recipe. With help from several confectioners and finally a friend at the FBI, he was able to find every ingredient (even some secret ones) that comprise the Australian treat.
Now registered as Boomerang, Australian Licorice, Young has seen the fulfillment of a dream.
"I'm really excited about it," he said. "This licorice is kind of like Haagan Daz (gourmet ice cream), we're going to find our niche in the high-end licorice market."
According to Young there are many licorice fanatics out there and they are seeking better kinds of licorice products.
"There is a lot of brand loyalty among licorice lovers," he said. "People are "in" to licorice."
Beside the rich taste and soft, chewy texture, Boomerang Licorice is packaged in a stay-fresh resealable pouch. The candy will be distributed to grocery and department stores and the gourmet candy will retail for between $4.99 and $5.40 per pound. Distribution will begin in Utah and throughout the nation within the next two weeks through J & K Sales and Delamare Candy. Scott DeLong, a national distributor out of California, will also handle national distribution.
Young isn't alone in this venture, he has two associates to give legal and marketing aid. Jim McConkie, a Salt Lake attorney, is president of Boomerang Australian Licorice, with Young serving as vice president and Scott Ward, a business teacher at Provo High School, as secretary/treasurer.
"Scott is handling the marketing and Jim is working on the legal contracts, patents, etc.," Young said.
To glean further returns from Boomerang, Young will head east in April to a national candy convention to introduce his confection to the national markets.
Young has long-term plans for the licorice,including introducing various colors and flavors to his line of gourmet taste treats.
The most important aspect of the new company, according to Young, is that it is based in Utah. "I'm glad and proud that it's another product made in Utah," he said.
With more companies and distributors showing an interest in the product, Young expects his Australian recipe to become a big hit with licorice lovers, not only in Utah, but throughout the United States.