So much for the giant, corporate candy empire. At Old Fashioned Candies in Berwyn, it's a family-run operation, and not much has changed over the past thirty years. This time of year, it's not just Halloween they're gearing up for, but rather, a steady demand for hand-dipped and handmade chocolates.
"We do a lot of the Caramel apples and then we do different kinds of candy that you don't t find at all the other stores. We do spiders and ants and grasshoppers we do little chocolate pumpkins we do um, chocolate baskets," said Lynn White, of Old Fashioned Candies.
And chocolate haunted houses - completely edible, mind you. Very little of the operation is modernized. The sisters' dad, George, often comes in to fire up the 90 year-old mixers, graced with the necessary copper kettles, which help him create the thick caramel sauce from scratch. Once the caramel is heated to 238 degrees, it is removed from the burner, then placed next to a bushel of apples and mounds of peanuts and sprinkles, where the coating process is so fluid, it looks as though it's choreographed. Speaking of which, his daughter, Lynn, methodically plows through dozens of French butter creams, gracefully coating each one by hand, adding a small twirl to the top of each one, then placing them down to dry. She is clearly ambidextrous.. a skill she had to learn growing up in this business.
"Well with that you learn to go fast because you don't get to go home until you finish what you start, so if you want to be here all night then you go slow if you want to be able to go home you learn to get a little bit of speed," White said.
There are other hard candies here, and some nationally-made brands of candy, but the family says the handmade chocolates are what really sets them apart that, and the fact that they take a more personal approach to customer service.
"I think because we are so family orientated we have our kids grow up here and we have our customers come in and we treat them kind of like they are part of us part of family," said White.
The biggest candy and chocolate occasions for the store continue to be Christmas and valentine's day but Halloween isn't far behind.
Old Fashioned Candies
6210 W. Cermak Rd., Berwyn