Solano County

Jelly Belly Station proposed as Suisun Valley gateway

By From page A1 | February 10, 2013

FAIRFIELD — Jelly Belly Station could someday be born as a tourist destination and Suisun Valley gateway at the old Cadenasso Winery site near Interstate 80, Abernathy Road and Suisun Valley Parkway.

It could have a hotel with 120 to 140 rooms, a gas station with 12 pumps and a market selling Jelly Belly products and Suisun Valley produce, according to preliminary papers filed with Fairfield. It could have a California tourist center. It could have a tour bus transfer station, where visitors could get rides to Jelly Belly to the east and rural Suisun Valley to the northwest.

Or Jelly Belly Station might end up being something different.

“It changes,” said Herman Rowland, the chairman of the board of the Jelly Belly Candy Co. and owner of the land. “The way the economy is and the way it’s going with the state of California, it makes it very difficult to plan . . . but we have to start someplace.”

Rowland bought the former winery in 2004 and at the time talked of using the site to attract people to rural Suisun Valley, perhaps by having a large produce stand there selling valley produce. Suisun Valley is about 10,000 acres with vineyards, wineries, produce stands and farms, as well as a sprinkling of retail businesses and restaurants that are concentrated for the most part at Mankas Corner and Rockville Corner.

Solano County in 2010 adopted its Suisun Valley vision. The county’s Suisun Valley Strategic Plan describes the Rowland family property as being ideal to become one of eight possible agricultural tourist centers for the valley.

“This site should serve as the marquee gateway to the valley,” the plan said. “Although uses such as service stations and farm equipment sales will be allowed, they must be designed and placed carefully so they do not block views of the agricultural lands beyond. . . . A visitor’s center that serves the region would be an ideal use.”

Whatever is built should be carefully designed to maintain the rural character of Abernathy Road, it said.

Rowland said he hasn’t talked with all the Suisun Valley entrepreneurs to see what they might think of his proposals. Perhaps some people will be concerned that traffic on the rural valley roads might increase, he said.

“You try to do things that will enhance what happens in the valley,” Rowland said.

Preliminary plans for the Jelly Belly Station were filed with the Fairfield Community Development Department, even though the land is in the unincorporated, rural county. Solano County and the county Board of Supervisors control the land use for the site, not Fairfield and its City Council – at least for now.

“It’s part of the Suisun Valley plan,” Solano County Program Manager Mike Yankovich said. “However, we don’t have services – sewer and water. More than likely, anything large-scale would not be practical. . . . That’s why something large-scale is really urban and receives urban services.

“An opportunity is there, but it’s more on a small scale in the county, versus in the city.”

George Condon, a consultant for the Jelly Belly Station project, agreed that a hotel would be difficult to build if it had to depend on a septic system and wells, as most county rural developments do. The question is whether Fairfield  could annex the property and under what circumstances.

A list of possible Fairfield annexation areas on file with the Local Agency Formation Commission does not include this particular site and the city has voter-approved growth boundaries. If the Jelly Belly Station site falls outside the growth boundaries – that appears to be the case, but the site is at the edge – Rowland might have to take his annexation proposal to a vote of the people if he wanted to pursue it.

The papers filed with the city are for a “conceptual review.” City Principal Planner Joe Lucchio said this gives the city a chance to comment on possible projects before proponents file a formal application.

Condon said the conceptual review should answer such questions as whether Fairfield could annex the land.

“I’m in no hurry,” Rowland said. “It’s something where you have to take the time, do it right, totally understand it and progress.”

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 32 comments

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  • Herm RowlandFebruary 10, 2013 - 9:38 am

    Barry Good job. Your coments are right on. Thanks Herm Sr.

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  • David KleinFebruary 10, 2013 - 10:53 am

    Love this idea..if you would like to know more about the history of this product a documentary is now streaming on both Netflix and Hulu--Candyman:the David Klein Story......thank you

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  • david kleinFebruary 11, 2013 - 12:03 am

    I almost forgot...Candyman:the David Klein Story has been seen all over the world. Because of this I am back in the jelly bean business with David's Signature Beyond Gourmet Jelly Beans--a product of Leaf Brands...AS of one minute ago we were #1 rated in candy/gifts.

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  • YFebruary 10, 2013 - 1:05 pm

    This doesn't sound very rural. Something garish like Jelly Belly works over on the industrial side of town where it currently is, but not in the Valley. Unfortunately, Mr. Rowland doesn't seem to think in terms other than garish. You bought a farm Mr. Rowland, farm it or sell it. Don't go making our valley a mockery.

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  • Mr. PracticalFebruary 10, 2013 - 3:06 pm

    It wasn't exactly a farm. It was a winery that I believe sold retail. Wouldn't this project be located in one of the new Enterprise Zones? The proposed commercial use seems to be an excellent fit for that location along the new parkway and at a natural entrance to Suisun Valley.

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  • Rick WoodFebruary 11, 2013 - 12:11 am

    That's right, Mr. Practical. This issue was debated in detail during the county general plan update and Suisun Valley specific plan: How to keep Suisun Valley rural while introducing more agritourism. The upshot was to allow a discrete number of "agricultural tourism centers" limited to a maximum of 75 additional commercial acres out of the 7,000 acres or so that are agricultural in Suisun Valley. The Roland property is in one of the areas designated for a center, but it was also already commercial property. What is good for Suisun Valley should be the subject of a healthy debate, because there are still issues to be resolved and permits to be obtained. The county will likely not allow a development that is out of character with the planning to date, especially if people who care and are informed participate in the process. But from all signs, Mr. Rowland is completely on board with the design standards and their intent. And who knows marketing by tourism in our area better than Jelly Belly? This development will be a big plus for Suisun Valley, I predict. Thanks for hanging in there all this time, Herm, and for being patient and methodical going forward. What we want is success and sustainability, and to get that, we need to engage the public.

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  • truth isFebruary 10, 2013 - 7:51 pm

    truth is it jb has fun family we are great people reputation. Thats true if you never worked for them!!

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  • Learn the factsFebruary 11, 2013 - 7:52 pm

    Anyone who believes every word that Dave Klein says or his "intresting documentry" is ignorant, he is an angry old man that sold an idea and has nothing to show for it 20 years later. He AND Herman Goelitz Candy Company invented the Jelly Belly Gormet Bean. Guess who fronted the money, time, machinery, R&D???? Herman Goelitz candy company... Not Dave Klein, yes he had great inovative ideas but you need more than just an idea to get the ball rolling. Herman Goelitz offered an incredible price for the brand and rights and Dave Klein and his partner accepted it... Herman Goelitz Candy company (now Jelly Belly Candy Compant) could then build the brand and make it what it is today... The number 1 Gormet jelly belly bean in the world... Get all the facts before judging from one side...

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  • David KleinFebruary 12, 2013 - 11:15 am

    Gourmet is not spelled Gormet....I am very happy but you sound very bitter....You need to channel your bitterness in other ways....

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  • David KleinFebruary 12, 2013 - 11:58 am

    Dear angry Jelly Belly fan----The ball was already rolling when we "Sold out".. Their tiny little plant could not make one more pound of the product....They told me in the beginning that they could handle all orders. This turned out to be a LIE......I suggest you watch the whole documentary. I stand behind everything in there....Oh by the way our new David's Signature Jelly Beans are #1 rated in their category on Amazon. Peace be with you.

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  • david kleinFebruary 12, 2013 - 1:33 pm

    I almost forgot-----when I created Jelly Belly Jelly Beans I was paying Herm 59 cents a pound...I called him on the phone after the product was successful( due to MY hard work) and I told him to raise the price 10 cents a pound....

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  • David KleinFebruary 12, 2013 - 2:32 pm

    Herman Goelitz did not offer an incredible price for the trademark...They gave us a check for 1000.00 and a promise to pay us 17 cents per pound on the first 120,000 pounds per month sales.....They simply paid a royalty out of future sales for 20 very long years. Also they had me sign a non compete clause for the 20 year period...This clause would never have held up in court. What bothered me more than the money was that my name was erased from the history of this product...

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  • Rick WoodFebruary 12, 2013 - 3:18 pm

    David: I'm sorry there is what sounds like this dispute in the Jelly Belly history. Where are you typing from?

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  • david kleinFebruary 12, 2013 - 7:51 pm

    I am in Covina California.....why do you ask???

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  • David KleinFebruary 13, 2013 - 10:08 pm

    I believe you are the same person who commented in the Inc Magazine article...I appreciate your loyalty to Herm and his company but why are you hiding who you are?

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  • Rick WoodFebruary 14, 2013 - 1:34 am

    David: Me? No, I'm the real Rick. I'm local Fairfield. I was just curious how local you were. I thought you might have been back in Chicago or something.

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  • david kleinFebruary 14, 2013 - 2:22 am

    Rick-----the comment was not meant for you....it was meant for the angry person who said that I was a bitter old man. What a terrible thing to say....MY BEST

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  • david KleinFebruary 14, 2013 - 8:44 pm

    This comment is for the angry Jelly Belly fan.....I figured out who you are......very clever the way you spelled gourmet gormet to draw everyone off the track....PEACE BE WITH YOU

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  • david kl;einFebruary 17, 2013 - 3:02 am

    I have talked to many candy industry executives...It is the majority opinion that without Jelly Belly Jelly Beans Herman Goelitz would have gone out of business....Names upon request.....

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  • David KleinFebruary 18, 2013 - 5:28 pm

    "Jelly beans have been around since the 1890s, but Jelly Belly claims to have made the first gourmet jelly bean in 1976. “We were making candy corn before then and we were starving,” said Herman Goelitz Rowland, the chief executive of Jelly Belly."

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  • david kleinFebruary 28, 2013 - 1:24 pm

    This is to the angry Jelly Belly Fan...The author of this brilliant statement is Steve Wynn-----Read Wynn's full statement below: Joe Francis represents a new kind of criminal type: the digital assassin. He takes advantage of the protection afforded by the Internet to issue intentionally destructive charges against someone’s reputation, knowing full well that in the age of the Internet those statements will live forever. His actions present a new challenge to society created by technology and the instantaneous news cycle. The inflammatory information goes up instantly and stays forever, unchallenged and unproven, to the misery and detriment of any citizen that is a victim. The only remedy is a long road, an expensive road, to a trial before 12 fellow citizens. Most citizens don’t have the time or the resources to defend themselves and find the truth in a courtroom before a jury of their peers. In this case, with this unbelievably reckless human being, Joe Francis, I am a surrogate, a stand in, for all the people with any reputation or in any business, or even just a private citizen, who can be wildly attacked. Thank God for the justice system that finally sent a message: if you think you’re taking a cheap shot, it may be a lot more expensive than you had imagined. Therefore, think before you post; think before you speak; hesitate before you start to destroy someone’s character. There may be a day of reckoning.

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  • david kleinMarch 01, 2013 - 1:30 pm

    This is to "learn the facts" ... You say that I sold an idea----it took me four years of my life to get that product off the ground. The small factory could not make one more pound...I suggest you watch the documentary just as millions of people have who now know the truth. WHY are you so bitter?????

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  • david KleinMarch 02, 2013 - 1:03 pm

    Dear angry Jelly Belly fan....you called my fans ignorant.That was not very nice...I suggest you learn how to spell the following words---innovative(it has 2 n's in it), interesting, and gourmet...

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  • thruth is toldFebruary 12, 2013 - 6:17 pm

    dispute the fact really truth is Marinus Van Dame created the Jelly Belly all on his own and later they stole it from him and fired him. That place is nothing but a bunch of vultures! they screwed the employees out of there union pension when they moved from Oakland! Now they act like Herm cares about his workers that's a crock..... When LuLu Mae died he didn't even show up to her funeral and she talked about Herm and his kids like they were family yea some family. His dad Ernie was a nice guy but now its all snakes that's the truth get it straight!

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  • David KleinFebruary 12, 2013 - 7:57 pm

    Every once in a 200 year period a candy maker comes along who stands far above the crowd...This was Marinus...The man knew more about candy making than anyone I know...watch the documentary--Candyman:the David Klein Story....Marinus is honored in this...as for him being fired I doubt that...no one would fire a genius like him...

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  • truth isFebruary 13, 2013 - 11:43 am

    Well then you really don't know the inside BS at Goelitz. But thank you for recognizing the true Genius that Marnius was. And there are many expert candy makers that currently work at JB that are probably close to retirement some have left but some are still there.

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  • david kleinFebruary 13, 2013 - 1:08 pm

    I have a feeling that you could be very helpful in the book I am writing..Are you interested????

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  • truth isFebruary 13, 2013 - 11:20 pm

    maybe how could we confidentially contact each other? I worry about my safety I don't trust the men in that corporation you have no idea what they are capable of

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  • david kleinFebruary 13, 2013 - 11:49 pm

    Okay....your safety would be priority # 1....let me think about it...probably would be best if I did not even know your name....

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  • david kleinFebruary 19, 2013 - 11:41 pm

    This comment is to TRUTH IS.....Have you figured out a way that we could talk with each other.. I do not have caller ID on my home phone so I would not be able to find out who you are...

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  • david kleinFebruary 19, 2013 - 11:48 pm

    This is just one of thousands of comments we receive each month----" Sometimes, I find myself lucky enough to be present for a really magical festival experience. Something that’s so special it reminds me why I attend film festivals in the first place, and something so unique that it couldn’t really happen in any other context. And, for me, it’s usually not the big, fancy premieres or high-profile films that provide them. It’s often the tiny films, the unknowns, that cement themselves in my memory for years to come and become part of my festival history for life. Today, I had one of those experiences. I’ve been eating, and loving, Jelly Belly jelly beans for more than 20 years, so when I was flipping through the festival schedule and saw that HotDocs would be screening a film about their creator, it was a no-brainer. And, as I queued up for the screening of Candyman: The David Klein Story (7/8) all I was really expecting was, perhaps, a colorful film about an unsung hero of the confectionery world. But no sooner did I take my spot in line when an exuberant, rumply guy in a rhinestoned cowboy hat began working his way from person to person, introducing himself. It was David Klein. He stopped to talk to everybody, and thanked each of us profusely for coming to the film. He talked about how much he was loving the festival, and Toronto, and invited us all down to visit him at his shop in California if we’re ever in the area. His son, Bert, who appears in the film and is one of its producers, was also on hand, taking photos and letting slip that we’d all be getting a bag of Jelly Bellies when we got into the theater. What?! Awesome! I watched the Kleins work the entire line, and I watched as the faces of the people in the line lit up, one by one, as father and son made their way amongst the ticket holders. It was like everyone suddenly turned into delighted children, eager for candy and excited to meet the guy who made it. Certainly, that was the case for me. By the time I sat down in the theater, bag of beans in hand!, I knew this would become a festival experience I’d talk about for years to come. It’s not every day you meet someone with as genuine a generosity of spirit as David Klein. The film itself was equally great, revealing the big heart (and big brain) of a smart, creative law-school grad who, in the 1970s, introduced the world to “gourmet jelly beans” but, who, after selling the rights to a one-time business associate in 1980, has since been excised from the candy’s history. The story has something of a “nice guys finish last in business” lesson to it, but any fears that the doc might be a downer are erased when you see that Klein is much more interested in helping other people than in the bottom line. Happy to give away his money (or time or expertise) if it means lending a hand to someone else has, perhaps, been his undoing as a would-be multi-millionaire, but has allowed him to put more than his share of good out into the world."

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  • david kleinFebruary 23, 2013 - 7:38 pm

    It's time to spill the beans. Candyman is the amazing story of the candy inventor from LA who in 1976 had a billion-dollar brainwave and invented the Jelly Belly bean, the small, colourful beans that came in many bizarrely realistic flavours and were a radical, pioneering new sugary product that took the world by storm. This funny, off-beat tale tells how David Klein, the Willy Wonka of the Jelly Belly bean, created and was then exiled from his own candy empire. "You only need to be a genius for 15 seconds" and after that you need a good lawyer. "The industry was boring, it lacked flavour, it lacked colour and imagination, it lacked creativity and Dave was there to provide all these things". As one old pal tells us, David Klein oozes an idiosyncratic charm and likeableness and was the perfect man to overhaul the flagging candy industry of the 1970s. His concept of a fun colourful new sweet was slow to take off but Klein hustled tirelessly and it wasn't long before his eccentric invention became a pop culture phenomenon. Once word got out about the product with it's high quality and fun, unusual flavours, the orders came rolling in and at one point demand was so high that the company's production was behind by a whole year. "We made so much money on Jelly Bellys that at night my husband would put Jelly Belly money in a big box and take it home!" It became the ultimate family business, wife, mother-in-law, diabetic dog and all. The product reached such heights that the American President Ronald Reagan called them his favourite candy and helped catapult the Jelly Beans to fame. "There's a lot you can tell about a fella by the way he eats Jelly Beans!" was a Reagan catch phrase. Yet as the Jelly Beans took over the world, the vultures began to circle. Klein made some concessions and before he really knew what was happening he had signed over the rights for his product at a fraction of the value just as the company was about to explode. But Klein remains philosophical about the money that he lost, "Regrets? Once you sign it what are you going to do? You get on with the rest of your life". But what leaves the most sour of tastes in Klein's mouth is that as Jelly Belly has grown into a billion dollar enterprise, the company has erased him from its history. All David wants is to be included in the story of the Jelly Bean. "All David ever cared about was the recognition." But not only was he forced to part with something he truly loved and that defined him, he was also divorced from its legacy. The film is all about both sides of the American dream. Is there room for eccentric genius in the modern corporate world? The film tells how Klein may have lost his beans, but kept his soul.

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