Michael Stefanos, heir to the Dove bar fortune

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Leo Stefanos immigrated to America from Greece when he was 35 years old. After he learned to make candy working in a Chicago candy store, Leo eventually opened his own store and named it Dove Candies after the symbol of peace.

When Leo saw his sons run after the Good Humor truck instead of staying in his candy store, he set out to invent his own ice cream bar. Leo kept the recipe top secret and used his sons and daughter as taste testers. "It was absolutely the greatest job in the world," says Michael (above), one of Leo's sons.

The year was 1957 and the Dove bar quickly became a customer favorite. By 1977, Dove was selling as many as 3,000 handmade bars a day! When Leo passed away, Michael—who learned the secret Dove bar recipe when he was 10—took over and began selling the ice cream bars to local stores in 1984. The bars became so popular—selling 100,000 bars a day—Mars Inc., the makers of M&M's and Snickers, bought Dove for tens of millions of dollars.

The new Dove bar production plant is close to the very spot where Leo Stefanos invented the original. It now takes 3,700 cows to make enough milk to produce the 350,000 Dove bars made every day. They use 4 million pounds of milk chocolate a year. They freeze the bars in a freezer that is 20 degrees colder than the North Pole.

And only one person in the plant knows the still-secret recipe!
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FROM: The Big Idea That Made Millions
Published on May 04, 2006

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