This store has been satisfying Utah candy cravings for more than a century

Known for nostalgic treats like orange sticks and saltwater toffee, Sweet Candy Co. brings flavorful traditions to mind and mouth.

(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) An employee stacks a tray of chocolate cinnamon bears at Sweet Candy Co. in Salt Lake City in 2018.

It may surprise you that one of the oldest businesses in Utah still in operation today is a candy company. But it’s true: Sweet Candy Co. was founded in 1892 and has operated in the state since 1900.

Known for old-school classics like chocolate-covered orange sticks, saltwater toffee, and cinnamon bears, Sweet Candy Co. still uses the same decades-old recipes for these treats.

A bite into a soft stick of orange should taste nostalgia itself.

“If I go and buy orange sticks on a shelf, it’s going to be something familiar and consistent, and it’s going to be the same thing I’ve had my whole life,” said marketing director Anne Bischoff.

“For a lot of people, that’s reassuring,” she continued. “…I think the tougher times are, the more we look for those little bits of joy and permanence.”

A sweet story

According to the Utah Department of Commerce, Sweet Candy Co. is the oldest for-profit corporation in Utah with an active registry.

Leon Sweet brought it to market in Portland, Oregon in 1892. In those early days, Sweet sold jawbreakers and pennies in apothecary jars out of horse-drawn carriages, said Rachel Sweet, vice president of corporate affairs and Leon’s great-great-granddaughter.

(Sweet Candy Co.) Sweet Candy Co. is shown in Portland, Ore.

In 1900, Leon Sweet and his brother Arthur came to Utah to be closer to a sugar supply, Rachel Sweet said, and in those early days Sweet Candy Co. confections were made from beet sugar produced in Utah. According to the company history, the two brothers produced hard and soft candies, as well as hand-dipped chocolates and marshmallow treats.

A few decades after saltwater toffee was invented in Atlantic City in the late 1700s, Leon Sweet introduced the treat to the Beehive State. In the 1930s, his son Jack Sweet invented a process for whipping egg whites into toffee, a technique still used today, the company’s history says. Whipping the toffee is said to result in a softer toffee that is more delicious than steeped toffee.

After Sweet Candy Co. relocated to Utah, it first opened a store at 15 E. 100 South in Salt Lake City, now on the edge of the City Creek Center mall. In 1911 the business moved to 224 S. 200 West, next to what is now the Poplar Street Pub.

(Sweet Candy Co.) Workers make candy on July 10, 1911 at the Sweet Candy Co. in Salt Lake City.

Today, Sweet Candy Co.’s manufacturing and distribution facility is located a few miles south of Salt Lake City International Airport.

Treat yourself

(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Employees at Salt Lake City’s Sweet Candy Co. flatten fresh cinnamon bears before they enter the chocolate coating machine in 2018.

Sweet Candy Co. is the largest producer of whipped saltwater toffee in the U.S., Rachel Sweet said, and the toffee comes in more than 50 flavors, including root beer float, eggnog, caramel apple, cinnamon and buttered popcorn.

In addition to milk chocolate orange sticks, which the company has been making for 85 years, Sweet Candy Co. also makes milk chocolate raspberry sticks and dark chocolate cherry sticks, orange sticks, mango chilli sticks and blueberry sticks, and cinnamon sticks. chocolate-covered cinnamon bears and sours in different flavors.

Sweet Candy Co. products can be purchased online as well as at most grocery stores.

(Sweet Candy Co.) A selection of flavored chocolate sticks.

Anne Bischoff — Leon Sweet’s great-great-great-granddaughter — said that Sweet Candy Co. is part of people’s traditions, whether it’s bringing orange sticks at Christmas time or catching Sweet-brand toffee at parades in the summer.

Nostalgic candy, she said, offers a way to “bring back people who have gone, or just those little tie-backs to your own family history.”

Editor’s Note • This story is available only to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers. Thank you for supporting local journalism.

(Sweet Candy Co.) A bag of saltwater toffee manufactured by the company. This store has been satisfying Utah candy cravings for more than a century

Justin Scacco

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