In 1863 Samuel Herring opened a confectionery at 110 Market St Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He successfully traded there before passing the business on to a succession of successful candymen, until in 1910 Edward R Shane bought the business. Shane Candies handcrafted butter cream chocolates, licorice and candies into the new millennium.
After 99 years, Barry Shane left the company in the good hands of the Berley brothers, Ryan and Eric who already had built an old-fashioned soda fountain just a few doors away.
As the sons of antiquarians, the brothers have always celebrated the old traditions in the historic City of Brotherly Love. They decided to keep the Shane family name on the shingle to honour and preserve the heritage of their ‘new’ business.
Today, Shane Confectionery is the longest continually trading confectionery business in the US.
Sporting facial hair so old-fashioned it’s hip again, the Berley brothers are the proverbial kids in the candy store, albeit their own candy store.
After a painstaking 18 month restoration and refit, Shane Candies became once again an emporium dedicated to the enjoyment of all things deliciously sweet and gooey. Much of the original interior was enhanced with vintage light fittings, scales and candy paraphernalia. When they lifted the old linoleum they discovered time-worn oak floors. Slowly, the shop revealed a grander time.
Next, the Berleys applied themselves to learning the mysteries of the confectioner’s art. They liken themselves to archaeologists – reinventing recipes from books that haven’t seen the light of day for decades.
The confectioners at Shane Candies make some sweets by hand and also use restored original machinery to create candies. Technicolour blobs are transformed into countless sweet treats. They source their cream and milk from local dairies and never use preservatives. Individually wrapped buttercream chocolates that were once a specialty of Philadelphia, are popular all over again. To make the traditional ‘clear toy’ candies the team has sourced hundreds of old moulds in all manner of shapes and sizes from rabbits for Easter to reindeer at Christmas.
For over 150 years the walls of 110 Market St have absorbed the rich ooze of cooked butter-cream chocolate mingled with the fresh fruity scents of syrupy essences. When you first enter you almost get a sugar-rush from the aromas. The shelves and counters are filled with colourful jars of jawbreakers, licorice, nostalgic candies, caramels and jellybeans. Their specialties including ‘Irish Potatoes’ – little spuds of coconut cream cheese dusted with cinnamon as well as whole organic brandy soaked Oregon Cherries dipped in rich dark chocolate. Both are also available via their online store.
The Berley brothers could be best described as the ‘candy dandies’ of Philadelphia. Not only do they dress the part, they are keeping alive the craftsmanship of Philadelphia’s artisanal confectioners. Or, as they like to put it, “… the past of America, but also the future”.