The last time wsbtv.com talked to Weiner was three years ago as he was auctioning off his collection of microcars. At the time, it was considered the greatest collection of microcars in the world.
He had traveled the world over assembling the 500-car collection, but Weiner discovered in that, it was the hunt that he loved and not the caretaker role. After the gavel sounded on the final microcar, Weiner turned his hunt to a new passion, candy and other items from his childhood.
"This, to me, is gold," Weiner told wsbtv.com's Nelson Hicks as he opened a box of Sweet Tarts that is 46 years old.
Weiner's daily trip to the mailbox usually yields 10 or more boxes of candy, some of which dates to the early 1900s.
The walls and display cases of Weiner's massive museum in Madison are now filled with similar products with similar stories. The museum used to house his microcar collection and the museum was open at that time to the public. There are cartons of Juicy Fruit and Big Red when it sold for 10 cents a pack. There are Chiclets, Sugar Daddies and chewing gum mustaches. There are jukeboxes, pinball machines and all kinds of trading cards.
Weiner's interest in collecting candy is no great surprise considering his background. Weiner started Concord Confections in 1986. The company supplied gum and other confections to the bubble gum industry In 1998, his company bought Fleer Confections, and with the purchase, Weiner became the owner of Dubble Bubble. Weiner sold the company to Tootsie Roll in 2004 for nearly $200 million.
A number of items in his collection, he created while working at Concord Confections. A majority of the other items, he's bought on eBay. And Weiner employs a staff to tend to the collection, to rebuild various candy vending machines and to work on the other collectibles he's acquired.
And the collection extends far beyond candy into other collectibles from his childhood.
"The Schwinn bicycles have a good story," Weiner said. "When I was 8 years old, I cried to have one and it was $80, I'll never forget $80. I was like 5 or 6 years old. And I cried and cried for it and my mother sent my dad back in there to get it for me. That was a lot of money in the day. Now, I've got every model of that Schwin."
He owns ant farms, Erector sets, Polaroid cameras and pinball machines but his favorite are the Disneyland Toy Factory mold-a-rama machines. The machines featured a mold that created wax plastic figures of some of Disney's most popular characters.
Weiner remembers buying a few characters from the machines growing up, but leaving the figures in the car on accident.
"It was just a glob of wax."
And while the machines look sensational now, that's not how they looked when Weiner acquired them. He bought a tractor-trailer full of the machines and various parts. None of them worked and many of them were rusted out. Weiner has employed one person full-time for 2 1/2 years whose only job is to restore the machines.
As for the future, you'll find Weiner scouring eBay for the oldest candy collectibles with the hope of one day re-opening his museum to the public.