Class of 2021
What started as a part-time job in college has culminated in a career in the confectionery industry surpassing four decades for Alan Scharhon.
Alan was born in Seattle, WA, on March 21, 1956, to Azaria and Rachel. He grew up with his sister Esther and brother Morris and graduated from Franklin High School in 1974, intending to become a dental technician.
Alan had already met his future wife Marie in 1969 at their synagogue’s summer camp. The two were married in June of 1977.
During college, Alan started working at Halfon Candy Co., which was owned by his soon to be father-in-law Jim Halfon. He worked his way up from receiving to order picking and soon transitioned into sales.
Still intent on a career as a dental technician, Alan took the entrance exams only to discover he was color blind, which disqualified him. Looking for a new path, he began working full time at Halfon Candy as a driver.
As he became more familiar with the company and the confectionery industry, he realized he had been training for this career from his earliest days, based on his lifelong love of candy. He also enjoyed how it allowed him to be a kid in an adult world.
In 1981, Marie and Alan started their family, celebrating the birth of their daughter Jean, followed four years later with the arrival of their son Andrew. Today they also have two grandchildren, Sam and Miri.
Working his way up the corporate ladder, by 1989 Alan and Marie had purchased part of Halfon Candy and by 1994 they owned the entire company. At the time it was necessary to rebuild the company and their success in doing this is the proudest moment of Alan’s career.
In 2002, under Alan’s leadership Halfon Candy was named Bartell Drugs Vendor of the Year, an honor it earned again in 2011. Alan is indebted to George Bartell and Jean Barber, owners of the drug chain, for trusting him and allowing him to use their candy section as a pallet for his passion.
Alan points to Merne Dogherty, a longtime broker in the region and a 1992 Candy Hall of Fame inductee, as having a lasting impact on his life and career. He still often quotes Merne’s well-known motto — “There is always a way!”
Alan says it is important to be involved in the industry, to maintain relationships, keep current on industry trends and help cultivate the next generation. To this end, he mentors young people entering the business.
Away from the office, Alan enjoys tennis, racquetball and ping pong, as well as taking walks and playing cribbage and backgammon. He is involved in two synagogues, serving on the board of trustees for six years, then taking on the role of vice-president and president.
His philosophy is that life is too short. As a husband, father and a grandfather, he says he has learned to be true to your faith, family and friends and to try to enjoy every moment, as they go by extremely fast.