Theodor Riegert, a German entrepreneur, is considered the founder of confectionery industry in Latvia. Having gained experience from travelling to many countries worldwide, in 1870 he opened a company in Riga, Zaļā Street that spread out sweet chocolate aroma. Over the years, Riegert's factory became one of the largest sweet manufacturers in the Baltic, and even Russia. The demand for sweets in Riga increased; with the lapse of time Geginger's factory, founded in 1881, which manufactured nearly everything: from sweets to canned fish became the most severe competitor. However, the favourite among the population of the First Republic of Latvia was Vilhelms Ķuze, a Latvian entrepreneur, who established his company in 1910. Due to the high quality of his sweets and the excellent advertising ability, the small sweet shop grew into a stable company – Staburadze.
If V.Ķuze was named the king of Latvian confectionery, Laima, with its history dating back to 1921, should be named the queen. The factory was located in the present Miera Street. Laima developed rapidly and expanded its activity; in 1930 it employed already 500 people. Its production was sold not only in Latvia, but also in France, England, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and elsewhere. In the late 30s, the owners of Laima of those days decided to leave Riga. In 1937 the Latvian government purchased the shares of AS Riegert and Laima, the companies merged; therefore we can justly say that the contemporary Laima chocolate manufacturing skills date back to 1870, when Riegert's factory was founded. Since then 140 years of cherishing and developing Laima chocolate manufacturing traditions have passed; they continue the success story of Latvian sweets manufacturing experience and quality.
In 1940, when Latvia's history of an independent state was interrupted, factories and the public property passed into possession of the Soviet Union. Companies were nationalised. Geginger's factory was renamed Uzvara; Ķuze's Staburadze got the name of 17th June. Uzvara specialised in production of candies; big amounts were exported to Russia. Staburadze made biscuits and cakes, but Laima – chocolate and its products.
After the recognition of independence of Latvia, to support Latvian sweet manufacturers in the free market conditions, consolidation of major Latvian confectioneries has taken place; Laima has become the key sweet manufacturer. Laima is a future-oriented company. Understanding the market situation, maintaining its competitiveness and expanding activity, at present Laima is the major sweet manufacturer in the Baltic.
In 2010 opening night of the film Saldumu pilsēta (City of sweets) took place. The movie reveals the beginnings of the Latvian sweets industry and Laima. The producer is Kaspars Goba; to watch the film click here: