Former Mr. Jelly Belly looking for sweet comeback

October 30, 2011 - 11:05 AM

COVINA, Calif. (AP) — He is the Willie Wonka of Covina, Calif., joyfully leading anyone who drops by on a tour of his tiny candy company.

It's here that David Klein produces mounds of chewy, crunchy, sugary confections with names like Sandy Candy, Zombie Heart and Gummy Bacon.

But it's what he used to sell that once made him famous.

In the 1970s, Klein was Mr. Jelly Belly.

It was Klein who helped launch a gourmet candy craze by envisioning a smaller, tastier jelly bean.

Then, in 1980, he sold his interest in Jelly Belly.

The move, he says, was something that left him with a bitter, unfulfilled taste in his mouth.

So he's back with a new bean, Dave's Signature Beyond Gourmet. And he's looking to reclaim his title as jelly bean genius.