You know how we really like vintage (50-99 years old) and antique (100+ years old) things (such as the vintage and antique items you’ll donate to our 2016 Benefit Antiques Auction by calling Riene Wells at 262-363-4700…hint hint)?
Well, we really like vintage and antique businesses too…that is, those Wisconsin establishments that were founded over 50 years ago and are still around today.
We also happen to really like chocolate, and we’re pretty sure a lot of you do too.
So with all that said, we present to you a short list of some of Wisconsin’s vintage and antique chocolate makers, whether you need an amazing last-minute Valentine’s Day gift assortment for your sweetie, a fix for your sweet tooth in the upcoming months, or just a fix of sweet local business history! Links to their websites and online stores are in the titles.
Wilmar Chocolates: This Appleton handmade chocolate shop was founded in 1956 and has won numerous awards from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.
Hughes’ Home Maid Chocolates: Three generations of the Hughes family have been making and chocolates in the basement of their Oshkosh family home since 1940.
Kehr’s Candies: Founded in 1931 by newlywed couple Pearl and B.D. Kehr, this Milwaukee shop started out selling caramel corn in the early days of the Great Depression before expanding to candy, starting with chocolate fudge. The Kehrs’ son Bill took over in 1960 and then sold the shop in 1995 to longtime employee Paul Martinka, who carries on the Kehrs’ tradition.
Beerntsen’s Candies: Mark and Brenda Beertsen run this Green Bay candy store three generations after Henry Beerntsen first opened it in 1925.
Quality Candy/Buddy Squirrel: Founded in 1916 in Milwaukee by Polish immigrants Joseph and Lottie Helminiak, this chocolate store grew and eventually moved to St. Francis in 1985, where it merged with the 1960s Buddy Squirrel nut business.
Kaap’s Old World Chocolates: This Green Bay chocolate store was founded in 1909 by Otto Kaap, who made his chocolates overnight so they would be fresh the next day. Over time, he expanded the store to include an ice cream parlor and restaurant.
Seroogy’s: Three generations after being founded in 1899 by brothers Joe, Jim, and Sol Seroogy, this De Pere chocolate shop is still in the family and run by Seroogy brothers named Jim and Joe!
Oaks Candy: This chocolate shop has been an Oshkosh staple for over 100 years!