We take great pride in being family-owned and operated for three generations.
World’s Finest® Chocolate’s history traces back to 1908, when founder Edmond Opler, Sr. went to work at 12-years old to support his family after his father died. The oldest of eight children, he stopped going to school and found a job selling cocoa to bakeries around New York City via horse-drawn wagon.
His brother, Arnold, shared his entrepreneurial spirit, and joined him in selling cocoa. Together they decided to go out on their own, and in 1922 formed a company called E & A Opler, Inc. With Arnold based in Brooklyn, Ed expanded the business by moving to Chicago. The company grew from selling packaged cocoa to eventually making chocolate directly from the cocoa bean.
In 1939, Ed Opler, Sr., started Cook Chocolate Company selling cocoa powder and various chocolate products to retail and movie theaters. Ten years later, the company pioneered chocolate product fundraising with the World’s Finest® Milk Chocolate with Almond bar. In 1972, the company’s name officially changed to World’s Finest® Chocolate.
Read on for a complete list of WFC milestones…
1908 - Ed Opler, Sr. begins his 80-year chocolate career selling cocoa from a horse drawn wagon in New York City.
1918 - Ed Opler, Sr. joins his brothers’ cocoa business in New York.
1922 - Ed Opler, Sr., and his brother, Arnold, establish E & A Opler, Inc., a cocoa packaging company, with locations in NYC and Chicago.
1939 - Ed Opler, Sr. starts Cook Chocolate Company, Chicago.
1944 - Cook Chocolate company joins the Chocolate Manufacturers Association (CMA).
1949 - Chocolate product fundraising begins with the World’s Finest Milk Chocolate with Almond bar.
1950 - World’s Finest becomes a sales division of Cook Chocolate Company.
1951 - World’s Finest introduces Continental Almonds.®
1956 - Trademark, World’s Finest is registered in the U.S. Patent Office.
1958 - World’s Finest® begins manufacturing and sales operations in Campbellford, Ontario, Canada.
1963 - World’s Finest® introduces Imperial Almonds®.
1970 - Ed Opler, Sr., serves as Chairman of the board for the Chocolate Manufacturers Association.
1972 - World’s Finest® Chocolate, Inc. becomes the corporate name of the company.
1973 - World’s Finest chocolate bar’s trapezoidal shaped-design registered in the U.S. Patent Office.
1975 - World’s Finest® establishes our own cocoa farm on St. Lucia, West Indies.
1979 - World’s Finest® introduces Mint Meltaways®.
1985 - World’s Finest moves into our current 500,000-square foot manufacturing plant.
1987 - Ed Opler, Sr. receives Candy Industry’s prestigious Kettle Award; that same year, Ed Opler, Jr., becomes President of Worlds’ Finest Chocolate®, transferring leadership to the second generation of the Opler family.
1994 - World’s Finest® introduces a broad line of gift products for fundraising and corporate gifts.
1999 - World’s Finest® celebrates 50 years in Fundraising with over 5,000,000,000 bars sold, and is proud to be one of only eleven chocolate manufacturers in the U.S.
2000 - World’s Finest® partners with QSP, the fundraising division of Reader’s Digest to broaden the distribution of World’s Finest Chocolate fundraising products. WFC also makes an entrance into the retail, food gift and online retail markets.
2002 - Eddie Opler becomes CEO, transferring leadership to the third generation of the Opler family.
2003 - World’s Finest® introduces our first branded retail product line.
2006 - World’s Finest® purchases Queen Anne® Candy brand and brings cordial cherry production to our Chicago headquarters.
2008 - World’s Finest® Chocolate’s partnership with QSP is no longer exclusive, and leads to WFC rebuilding our fundraising sales force.
2010 - The Chicago Tribune launches the Top Workplaces recognition program, and names WFC one of Chicago’s Top 100 Workplaces.
2011 - World’s Finest® Chocolate creates the world’s largest chocolate bar, setting a new Guinness Book Record at 12,190 lbs. The big bar is part of the Think Big, Eat Smart campaign to teach children about the importance of portion control. WFC is again recognized as a Top Workplace by The Chicago Tribune.
2012 - For the third year in a row, World’s Finest® receives the Top 100 Workplaces Award by The Chicago Tribune. WFC receives SQF Certification.
2013 - The Chicago Tribune names World’s Finest a Top 100 Workplace for the fourth year in a row.
2014 - Recognized by National Safety Council for One Million Hours Without A Lost Time Incident. WFC celebrates 75th Anniversary.
2017 - World’s Finest® Chocolate surpasses $4 billion raised for our fundraising customers.