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 frugal economics.
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 hadf and led several nationally recognized programs. Mary was the executive assistant to a corporate CFO, but had always dreamed of having her own business.
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 available.
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.