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Small Business Spotlight: Original Candy Kitchen

April 18, 2019 08:25 AM

WILLIAMSON, N.Y. (WHEC) -- With Easter just a few days away, we thought it would be nice to take you to a candy store in Williamson that's been an institution for more than a century.

There you can shop until your heart's content for just about any chocolate item you can think of and then grab lunch.

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When you pull up to the Original Candy Kitchen on Main Street in Williamson it's as though you're stepping into a simpler time. It is a nostalgic trip to a bygone era where you can be a kid in a candy store, no matter your age.

Just ask Rose Marie Schrader. She's been coming here since 1985.

Rose Marie Schrader: "I have come at Peter Cottontail's request...said he needs help to do the shopping."

News10NBC's Brett Davidsen: "And they say Easter doesn't come until you show up."

Schrader: "That's correct."

She came armed with a basket and a list for her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.

Davidsen: "How much candy are you buying?" 

Schrader: "Lift the basket. I don't know?"

Davidsen: "That's about 30 pounds worth of chocolate."

The business has been in Mary Anagnostopoulus' family for four generations. Her great-great uncle George Boosalis started the store in 1890 as an ice cream parlor. It was passed on to her great uncle, then her father, then her. 

Davidsen: "Did you know this was what you were going to do? You knew it was in your family, but did you realize this was going to be your life?" 

Mary Anagnostopoulos: "No. I had no idea...now I can't imagine being anywhere else."

The Original Candy Kitchen has evolved over the years. There's a family restaurant that's open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week which does a brisk business.

But it's the candy we're here for and it's everywhere, especially this time of year when they do about 50 percent of their chocolate business.

You can find on display everything from chocolate-molded animals to sports items in dark, white or milk chocolate. The best part is they come in virtually any size.    

Davidsen: "What is it like [downstairs] during this time of year?" 

Anagnostopoulos: "Madness....and fun."   

The work is all done upstairs where Mary's husband Peter mixes and molds the chocolate treats.  

They still use the old-style temperer machines to mix the chocolate which comes to them in 10-pound slabs.

Anagnostopoulos: "We break that chocolate and put it in the machine and we maintain a temperature of 88 degrees."

The warmed chocolate is then poured out into the molds and left to cool and harden before being wrapped and put on the shelf.

Up here you really get a sense of the history of this place. On the shelves are hundreds of old metal chocolate molds. The oldest one is dated back to 1813.

Anagnostopoulos: "I have a great personal favorite...this little guy reminds me of home alone. He's got his little behind out and he's crying ...and I just think he's hysterical."

The newer ones are made of plastic.

Anagnostopoulos: "This is a hit, this merry-go-round, which is a five-piece mold and that gets assembled. That's always a popular one every year."

Soon it was Brett Davidsen's turn to take a stab at decorating one of their chocolate baskets.

Anagnostopoulos: "...and you're gonna slowly try to pipe around the basket."

Davidsen: "Oh God"

Anagnostopoulos: "Perfect."

Not exactly. Needless to say, we'll leave it to the experts who have built a loyal following.

Mary and Peter show no signs of slowing down, making Easter special for thousands of customers who have come to rely on them.

Schrader: "The chocolate is so good and the people here are so accommodating and kind."

Anagnostopoulos: "We've been doing it a long time and don't plan on stopping anytime soon."

The Original Candy Kitchen has extended hours during the holiday season.

Mary says their busiest day of the year is Good Friday followed by the Saturday before Easter.

For more information about the Original Candy Kitchen, click here.

If you know of a company we should highlight, email us at spotlight@whec.com.

WHECTV

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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