America’s small business are really at the heart of communities, and when you have one that’s been around for over 100 years, you see the commitment of the people who, generation by generation, decide to keep the business there. Just because a business starts somewhere doesn’t mean it has to finish there. But it appears that H.E. Willams Candy Company plans to finish where they started way back in 1919.
Not as far back…it was in 2012 (before H.E. Williams Candy Company’s centennial occurred) when Multi Cultural Cooking Network Editor in Chief, Crystal Johnson, stopped by their location in the South Norfolk area of Chesapeake, VA. On that day she scored royally with an interview and tour with Gene Williams, the grandson of the founder of this third-generation family enterprise.
Williams generously walked her through the facility and explained the heritage of their candy factory. A great deal of the equipment they use, including the rollers, tables, and copper kettles, are the same equipment his grandfather used. It’s a lesson in quality products and craftsmanship if nothing else. But when you watch the video (above), you see such a pride in the way they’ve chosen not to automate much and keep the old candy-making ways going. Heritage and legacy have their importance.
For a bit of context, the editor, took our mother with her on this interview. My mother loves old-fashioned hard candy plus she is a coconut fanatic. So, if you know a little something about candy, you’ve probably figured out the equation. If not, here goes: hard candy + coconut – any other option = peach buds.
My mother had been buying her peach buds from this establishment for years and not just her…her mother too. Grandma Josephine lived just a few short walking blocks from the operation and with eight kids and then a booming bastion of grandkids, I’m sure my grandparents thought it best that they always have a few treats around the house.
Long story short, our family was personally touched by this confectioner’s candy company. it was a small cog in the backdrop of my life. As minor as it may seem, I could rest assured, at some point near Christmas, either a red box or one of their white boxes decoratively printed with Christmas wreaths, would show up under the tree. No doubt after a hundred plus years, the company continues to provide these kinds of memories for their customers especially those in the surrounding community.
As the holidays approach, candy still makes one of the sweetest gifts—pun intended. Try the H.E. Williams Candy Company’s much lauded Christmas Fancy Mix for your holiday party hosts; give the peach buds to your neighbor, or pull out the pineapple lumps for your coworkers. And whatever, you do, don’t forget yourself…get your favorite old-fashioned hard candy and give yourself the gift of nostalgia.
Find out more about H.E. Williams Candy Company, just check out their Facebook Page or contact them at 757-545-9311.