W. MI man inducted into Candy Hall of Fame

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan man is being highlighted for all the years he has dedicated to the confectionery industry.

Barry Phillips has been in the retail industry for 37 years, but back in 2004, his job got a little sweeter. 

“I was category manager of snacks and my boss came to me and he says ‘Barry, I want you to take responsibility of doing candy.'”

Category managers are responsible for picking all of the products you see on the shelves at the store. Phillips works for SpartanNash, which means his job is to choose all the candy that gets stocked at any store owned by SpartanNash. The position requires him to do a lot of research on trends to make sure the candy he’s ordering will sell. 

After 17 years in the candy industry, Phillips recently earned the achievement of a lifetime. 

“I had a friend that I used to work with 15 years ago and he said ‘Barry,’ and he’s in the industry as well and he’s on the committee and he says ‘Barry, I think it’s time that you be nominated to be part of the Candy Hall of Fame.'”

Last year, Phillips learned he was chosen as one of 10 inductees for 2021. The pandemic pushed back the celebration, but at the end of October, Phillips got to go to Tampa, Florida for a weekend-long 50th-anniversary Candy Hall of Fame celebration. 

Barry Phillips poses in front of an M&M showcar parked outside the Candy Hall of Fame in Tampa, Florida on Oct. 23, 2021. (Courtesy Barry Phillips)

His nomination goes beyond his day-to-day career, it also highlights his passion for giving back to the community. He’s recognized for the guidance and dedication he offers to local kids and teens.

“My goal is to inspire them to do what they love, love what they do, and show them a different avenue of doing different things,” Phillips said. 

He said the joy that his job has brought him, is something he wants to share with others, teaching them they can do anything they set their minds to.

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