Confectioner Necco, maker of the most iconic of Valentine’s Day candies, has a message for potential suitors: Be Mine.
The candy company, which makes the conversation candy hearts (with sayings like “True Love” and “Text Me”) says it is struggling—and might be forced to lay off most of its workforce if it can’t find a buyer.
Nearly 400 workers’ jobs are on the line and they could be let go by early May. As of 2011, Necco employed 500 people. The company says it has been in “ongoing negotiations with potential buyers to allow for its continued operations.”
While Necco is known primarily for its Necco wafers, it’s the candy hearts that are more universally loved. As of 2011 (the most recent public data available), the company produced between 10 million and 14 million pounds of it, which worked out to between 4.8 billion to 6.7 billion hearts per year.
They’ve been a Valentine’s Day staple since 1902.
Layoffs aren’t the only looming omen for Necco, which calls itself America’s oldest candy company (it has been in operation since 1847). The company’s lease of its 830,000-square-foot building expires at the end of August.