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How This 13-Year-Old Entrepreneur Built a Multi-Million Dollar Candy Company Between school, dance and hanging with friends, Alina Morse is running a national candy brand.

By Lakshmi Varanasi

This story appears in the September 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

David Yellen

Just 30 miles northwest of Detroit is the headquarters of a multimillion-dollar candy company called Zollipops. It's housed in a plain-looking warehouse, containing little more than boxes and boxes of sugar-free lollipops, hard candy and taffy that's sold online and in more than 7,500 stores, and is overseen by a team of six full-time employees and several independent contractors. But down a hall, fluorescent lights make way for the real magic of the place: a corner office decorated with sparkling pink dance trophies, paintings of smiling suns and construction-­paper family trees -- the handiwork of the company's founder and CEO, 13-year-old Alina Morse.

Related: 11 Successful Kid Entrepreneurs Keeping Their Eyes on the Prize

During the school year, Alina splits her time among dance, homework and running Zollipops, but in the summer, she's able to come into the office more often. So less than a week after her last day of seventh grade, on a Tuesday morning in June, Alina and her father, Tom, are here approving printouts of their upcoming advertisements in Kroger's September catalog. "I think we can change the coloration here to be more flattering to her complexion," she says, pointing to the face of her younger sister, Lola. "Also, let's position the Zollipops in a lunch bag along with a few other healthy items like carrots, snap peas, maybe strawberries, so people understand that they're good for you." Her father suggests that it might be wise to incorporate Kroger's own brand of products into the ad. He pauses, trying to remember the brand's name. "Simple Truth!" Alina chimes in immediately. "And I agree; it's good for our relationship with Kroger to use their products."

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