Monday, March 10, 2014

Sweet Talk: A History of Confectioners and Candy Makers in Chemung County

By Kelli Huggins, Education Coordinator, and Tori Riley, Education Intern

Candy and other sweet confections have a long history.  Sweets were enjoyed by ancient cultures as well as in more modern history.  Up until the mid-1800s, candy was mostly produced on a small scale or in the home.

Early Candy Mold

Sign for home-made candies, early 1900s

However, technological advances made it possible for large-scale confectionary production to begin by the end of the 19th century.  The mass production candy also made it more affordable, ushering in an era of penny candies.  Purchasing candy was often children’s first foray into the world of consumerism.  There were many confectioners in Chemung County.  Candy makers like Booth’s Candies, on East Market St., Elmira, shipped their candies all over the country. 

Booth's Candies, Market St.

Receipt from Booth's, 1924

Booth's Chocolate Box

Other candy peddlers and manufacturers sprung up by the turn of the 20th century. 

Flat Iron Candy Store, Main St. and Park Place

Thomas Lawrence Wholesale and Retail Confectioner, circa 1900

Thomas Lawrence Wholesale and Retail Confectioner

Trade Card for Old Aunt Susan's Candy manufactured by Benjamin's Candies, Elmira

Trade card from Benjamin's Fine Candies
Around the 1950s, Aster’s candy store, on East Water St., Elmira, was a popular destination for sweets-lovers of all ages.

Outside Aster's Candies, Water St., Elmira

Interior of Aster's Candies
Chemung County is still home to a prominent candy company today.  Demet’s Candy Company in Horseheads makes their ever popular Turtles in original, pecan, cashew, and sugar-free versions.

Demet's Turtles wrapper


  1. Elmira does have an interesting business history, doesn't it?

  2. Nice write-up! so neat to see the pictures that go with the story. My grandfather, Robert Erway, ran a soda fountain called"Erway's Sweet Shop" on 14th street in Elmira Heights in the 50s. I've never seen any pictures of it. By the time I was around, the only old time candy store left was Lovell's on Pigeon Point.