NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Sweet marshmallow nougat, smooth chocolate, creamy caramel, crunchy peanuts – is your mouth watering yet? Those ingredients make up America’s first combination candy bar, known as the Goo Goo Cluster.

Its origin is from right here in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Standard Candy Company, which was founded in 1901. Its inventors were owner, Howard Campbell Sr., and his foreman, Porter Moore.

In 1912, Campbell and Moore were having fun in their factory when they created the Goo Goo Cluster, said Laurie Spradley, co-owner and Vice President of Operations.

“Previously, they just sold just chocolate, or just a caramel or just a taffy, and this was the first time someone combined multiple ingredients and sold it as one good,” she explained.

Spradley said the two didn’t name the candy bar right away.

“Howell was on his streetcar talking about the new confection and passing it out to fellow streetcar riders, and he didn’t have a name for it. And the topic of conversation shifted. And he started talking about his new son. And the teacher asked, ‘What’s he doing? What’s he saying?’ And he said, ‘Well, he’s right now just saying goo goo.'”

That conversation ultimately lead to Howell naming the creation Goo Goo Cluster, which also sparked this company slogan, “So good, you can ask for it from birth.”

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Their happy accident in the factory has become a worldwide favorite treat for many generations.

Spradley’s been a fan of Goo Goo Cluster since the day she was born.

“My family, my dad and grandfather, bought it in ’82,” she said. Five years ago she officially joined the company.

“We’ve somehow kept it alive for 110 years,” said Spradley.

Goo Goo Cluster
(Courtesy of Goo Goo Cluster)

In the last century, the company hasn’t changed its original recipe, but it has added two variety flavors.

“We’re not huge innovators,” she said. “But in the 1990s, we introduced the pecan variety, and then in the late ’90s, we introduced the peanut butter variety.”

Spradley added that peanut butter was her favorite Goo Goo variety.

Another remarkable milestone for the company was the opening of a storefront in on 3rd Avenue South in Nashville.

“The fact that I think we’re still here and thriving and have a retail store back in downtown Nashville celebrating our roots and where we were founded is really exciting,” she said.

The store was first opened in 2014 and renovated in 2021.

“We wanted to make it a place where we showcase what Howell created in 1912, what our chef is creating in our retail space and what you can create – you can make your own combination candy bar,” said Spradley.

After customers select their favorite ingredients on a kiosk, Spradley said it only takes about five minutes to have a homemade confection of their own to sample.

“We wanted it to be a place where you didn’t have to be a kid, but you felt like a kid.”

Spradley said her personal favorite DIY recipe includes, peanut butter, caramel, pretzels, Oreo, sprinkles and sometimes milk chocolate, dark chocolate or ruby chocolate.

The store on Lower Broadway also offers interactive classes, a retail shop and a Chocolate Bar menu.

She continued, “We’re kind of a reprieve from the honky-tonks, live music and museums downtown. We’re this kind of silly, goofy, fun, chocolatey place where you can’t help but smile when you walk in the door and sniff the chocolate.”

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Oct. 24, Goo Goo Cluster will be celebrating its 110th birthday.

To say thank you to its customers, it will be giving away a free bag of Lil’ Goos to the first 110 customers who place an online order using the promo code “Free Gift” on Monday, Oct. 24.

For more information about Goo Goo Cluster, visit their website at this link.