Since 1976 we've been hand-crafting our mouth-watering butter almond toffee with the finest, freshest ingredients and delivering it directly to customers at the best possible price.
Our Business History
Our original toffee recipe secret is all in the family.
||Vern's Toffee House is a family owned and operated Colorado business
established in 1976 by our toffee patriarch, Vern Hackbarth, with the
help of his wife, Gert. Raised in the farm and dairy culture of the Midwest
in the 1920's and 30's, Vern learned the values of good, fresh food and
Those old-school values helped him forge a successful career with Heinz
foods and later as the founder of a popular Fort Collins restaurant. When
he retired at age 59, he began to experiment with the idea of a milk chocolate
butter toffee. Then as now, he insisted on using the finest ingredients,
patient hand-blending and stirring, and no artificial preservatives.
|When he arrived at the original toffee recipe that satisfied
his demanding taste, Vern began selling it to friends and former restaurant
customers. They, in turn, shared it with their friends and associates
locally and countrywide. Vern's reputation for making extraordinary butter
almond toffee spread then—as it does now-by word-of-mouth, and Vern's
Toffee House was born. Vern bought a building to house his kitchen in
1976 and this location remains a part of our expanded home today. Very
soon, the success of his recipe outstripped his ability to produce enough
of the prized toffee to meet demand.
Mary and Ron: the next generation.
|So Vern approached his daughter, Mary, and her husband, Ron Hert, about
leaving their careers to move to Fort Collins to join the business. As
former Peace Corps volunteers, they were accustomed to risk taking, but
they were committed to their work. Ron was a college educator who had
founded and led several nationally recognized programs. Mary was the executive
assistant to a corporate CFO, but had always dreamed of having her own
When Vern called for help, they eventually couldn't resist the opportunity
to combine their talents to build a great family business based on Mary's
Dad's original toffee recipe. In 1984, they left their careers and moved
their family to Fort Collins to buy 50% interest in Vern's Toffee House
and become toffee manufacturers.
|They worked side by side with Vern and Gert for seven years,
practicing the simple small business values of hard work, thrift, pride
in a family-produced product, and friendly, efficient customer service.
When Vern and Gert retired in 1992, Mary and Ron proudly assumed responsibility
for the growing business that still operates on the basic principles instilled
by Vern so many years ago.
Stefanie and Patrick: the third generation.
|In 2011 Ron and Mary welcomed their daughter, Stefanie, and her husband Patrick
O'Neill, into the family business. They, too, had enjoyed challenging careers but they
yearned to blend their traditional family values with their professional life. Those
values and their unique skill sets were seamlessly intertwined with the principles that
Vern espoused in 1976.
Ron and Mary have nurtured this third generation of toffee artisans to
carry on the legacy of producing the most delicious, handcrafted butter almond toffee
Ron and Mary have shifted to an advisory role, but our entire family guarantees that
you will receive the same melt-in-your-mouth almond toffee and personal service that has
made Vern's a legend since 1976.
Today, several decades later, our family's award-winning butter almond
toffee is enjoyed by tens of thousands of customers throughout the U.S.
and around the world, and it is featured in gourmet markets as well.
| Our hometown, Fort Collins, Colorado, repeatedly
wins recognition in newspapers and magazines as the best small city in
America in which to reside. But, it is a wonderful place to visit, as
well. Just sixty miles north of Denver, Fort Collins is home to several
international companies, Colorado State University, and a vibrant business
and arts community. For recreation we are at the foot of the magnificent
snow-capped peaks of the Rockies and spectacular Rocky Mountain National
Park is minutes away.
And Vern's Toffee House is proud to be an attraction that draws visitors
to our town to visit our store and candy kitchen because they want to
see where their favorite candy is made.
Photo Credit: Ft. Collins Conv./Vis. Bur.
Photo Credit: Ft. Collins Conv./Vis. Bur.
| But our area also has natural characteristics
that make it the perfect environment for making butter almond toffee.
At just under 5,000 feet elevation, we have a cool, dry, climate that's
perfect for toffee manufacturers. Also, we have a steady supply of pure
Rocky Mountain water that is the beginning ingredient in our original
toffee recipe. The source is the Cache la Poudre River, a nationally designated
wild and scenic river, made famous in James Michener's Centennial. The
Poudre's headwaters originate high in the pristine mountain wilderness
and cascades down the mountains passing near our business on its way across
the plains to the East.
So come visit us. We know you'll enjoy our western
town and hospitality. And we'll have free samples of Vern's delicious
butter almond toffee waiting for you.