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Spotlight follows sales reps to Fargo

Employees of the Just Born candy company, which makes Hot Tamales, Mike and Ikes and other popular candies, are enjoying chilly Fargo instead of balmy Hawaii after corporate sales goals weren't met. Two dozen workers, who are in town for meetings, received fleece jackets and bomber hats. Pictured, from left, in front of the Fargo Theatre on Tuesday are Dave Bayha, channel team manager, Josh Halpern, director of U.S. sales, and Jim Costas, channel team manager. Ann Arbor Miller / Associated Press

It's a safe bet that tourists don't pose in front of movie theaters in Hawaii while wearing winter bomber caps.

And most visitors of the tropical island resort probably don't stop by the VFW for a $5 all-you-can-eat spaghetti feed.

But what Fargo lacks in palm trees it tries to make up for in hospitality, as Josh Halpern and two dozen of his sales representatives from the Just Born candy company have discovered.

You must know the story by now: The Bethlehem, Pa., company that makes such favorites as Mike and Ikes, Hot Tamales and Peeps offered its sales representatives a trip to Hawaii if they made their annual sales goals.

Falling short of those goals got them a ticket to Fargo instead - and, as it turns out, on the national news.

"We're stunned," Halpern said Tuesday when he took a break from a sales meeting at the firm's downtown Fargo Radisson Hotel getaway. "We thought we were just going to have a team-building event."

It turned out to be a team-building event and an interview-giving event, as news of their Fargo consolation prize trip spread from The Forum to national news outlets interested in their oddball story.

The agenda called for a stop at the Edgewood chalet for toboggan and sleigh rides before they fly back home Thursday.

"We're honored that they picked Fargo," said Bob Ward Sr., a local candy representative who has helped host the Just Born crew. "It's a real compliment."

As for Halpern, who lives in Philadelphia, he's considering a return trip to Fargo, although probably not in December.

"It's been so great," he said. "We definitely want to come back in the summer. We've just been blown away by the hospitality, how nice the people are."