By now, most of you know that I have a love for everything chocolate and coffee. Well…..Sydney and I had a chance to tour the factory at Marie’s Candies in West Liberty, Ohio. As you can imagine, I was in heaven! 🙂 We had an amazing time. If you have never been there, it is so worth the drive. We learned so much about the candy making process and also got to sample some wonderful chocolates. It was a cold, but beautiful day for a drive. If I am being truly honest, it would have taken a pretty big snow storm for me to pass up this particular adventure since chocolate was involved!
Rebecca King Craig is part owner of Marie’s Candies and was kind enough to take us on this tour and share the store’s history and candy making process. Marie’s Candies was established in 1956 by Rebecca’s grandparents Marie and Winfred. Her grandfather was a farmer. He contracted polio and became wheelchair bound. He was unable to farm again. When this tragedy struck the family, the community of West Liberty pulled together to help them. As a thank you to the community, Marie started making candies, cookies, and cakes to give to all the people who helped them.
A candy maker in Urbana was going out of business and he sold his recipe and equipment to Marie for $100.00 (this was a good amount of money in 1956). So Marie started making candy in her kitchen and the business grew into what is now Marie’s Candies.
After Marie’s husband died in 1973 she basically lost heart in the business. At this point Rebecca’s parents became involved in it for over 40 years and now Rebecca and her brother are the third generation to operate Marie’s Candies.
The top seller for them is the Tur’kins, which is like a turtle. Next is the Peanut Butter Fancies, which is like a peanut butter cup and the third top seller is the Butter Crunch, which is like a chocolate covered toffee bar.
Now tell me you are not drooling!! These candies are amazing!! I know from experience. 🙂
When we were in the factory area we asked if they ever get tired of smelling the chocolate. They said they don’t even notice the chocolate smell anymore. A couple of the chocolate makers told us they have to be out of the building for quite a while and then come back in to smell the chocolate.
They sell more milk chocolate than dark chocolate, but Rebecca said that dark chocolate is gaining in popularity. The Chocolate Covered Oreo is one of Rebecca’s favorites. After they are made, they set up for 24 hours before being bagged.
Marie’s Candies had a conveyor belt special made for their particular needs. The different candies go around on the belt and the box fillers can select the different chocolates to place in the boxes. Rebecca explained how much this helped having the candies rotate to the box fillers instead of the box fillers having to go to the candy. She said it saved quite a bit of time. They were filling Valentine’s boxes the day we were there. So neat to see this process!
The fascinating thing we found out is that only 5-10% of their business is from online or phone in orders. Most of their business is from the store. She said people drive a good distance to come and buy their candies. If you are interested in ordering some of this delicious candy you can do so by going to http://www.mariescandies.com. Trust me, you will not be sorry you did!
Just look at some of this amazing candy!! You really need to try one of everything!!
They do a third of their entire business in the month of December. Rebecca said it is a very busy time for them. Their second busiest time is Easter, followed by Valentine’s Day. When we were there, they were gearing up for Valentine’s Day.
Their candy shop was all decorated for Valentine’s Day. Such cute and tasty gift ideas!
They even have an area for the non-chocolate lover like Sydney. Even though I could not begin to understand this. Who doesn’t love chocolate?
These are all the goodies we came home with! My favorites were the Chocolate Covered Potato Chips, the Chimney Sweets (a silky smooth chocolate base, that is topped with chewy caramel, and dipped in white coating) and the Butter Crunch. Sydney’s favorite was the Pink Lemonade Ribbons (nothing chocolate of course!).
This was such a fun and delicious day! Everyone we met at Marie’s Candies was so nice and helpful. A special thank you to Rebecca King Craig for the amazing tour! It is definitely worth the drive to Marie’s Candies from where ever you are! Even in the cold and snow!
Now, head to Marie’s Candies to get your Valentine’s Day candy and treats!
Have a great day and eat some chocolate!!