This is the season when Shane Confectionery, America’s oldest continuously operating candy shop, offers scrumptious holiday treats made with 100-year-old recipes in vintage molds, using local and traceable ingredients. Take a journey back in time with us as we visit this historic Philadelphia candy shop.
Stepping through the front door of Shane’s at 110 Market is a form of time travel. In 2011, the exterior and interior were restored by the current owners, the Berley brothers, to replicate the shop’s original Victorian appearance. This not only earned Shane an award by Preservation Alliance; it also attracted a new generation of customers who were charmed by, not just the confectionery’s Back-to-the-Future appearance, but by its commitment to combining vintage recipes with ethically sourced ingredients.
Shane’s prides itself in using cocoa beans imported by Uncommon Cacao. They then sort, roast, and grind the cocoa beans into chocolate used for all their products, including historical drinking chocolates and homemade ice cream served in their Chocolate Cafe.
Other commitments to the environment and sustainability include Shane’s partnership with The Philadelphia Bee Co., providing locally produced bee products including honey, wax, and pollen all gathered from hives within city limits. How local? Beehives were installed on the Confectionery’s rooftop! Jars of honey are also available for sale in the shop. They also source locally whenever possible. Their maple syrup is from PA and distributed by Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-Op and their large hand-twisted pretzels are from Shuey’s Pretzel Factory. a family-owned business based in Lebanon, PA since 1927.
Nowhere else will you find a large selection of handmade chocolates and candies using ingredients, molds, and techniques that have been passed down for generations. This includes hand-pulled candy canes, nonpareils, jelly fruit slices, historic clear candy toys, and a mouth-watering selection of chocolate bonbons, cordials, and buttercreams. All gifts are boxed and wrapped elegantly in Victorian perfection.
When the confectionary first opened at 110 Market Street in 1863, it was owned by the Herring family who ran it as a wholesale business. At the time, Philadelphia was already the most active port in the country with ships delivering cocoa, sugarcane, fruits, and spices at the Delaware waterfront. All the prominent names in American chocolate and candy – Goldenberg’s of Peanut Chew fame, Wilbur Buds, Hershey, and Whitman Chocolates – had their first shops in Philadelphia which were synonymous with its high quality.
The shop passed through several owners, before acquiring the Shane name in 1910. That is when the Baltimore firm of Reinle & Salmon, the finest drugstore cabinetmaker of their day, installed the shop’s charming Victorian decor with curved glass showcases, marble countertops, and beautiful cabinetry which continues to draw visitors today.
The neighborhood changed throughout the sixties and seventies, and fewer people frequented the store. Yet year after year, customers would line up at Christmastime and Easter. However, in 1983, the grandson of the original Shane owner, took over the business for the next 25 years, refusing to implement modern production techniques and insisting on the old-fashioned handmade methods that had created the confectionery’s reputation.
In 2010, Shane’s was sold to the Berley brothers, owners of The Franklin Fountain, a Victorian-style ice cream parlor at 116 Market that also sources ethical and fair trade ingredients. They were in sync with the confectionery’s historic chocolate and candy-making traditions and reintroduced Shane’s to a new generation.
Find your inner Willy Wonka
Shane Confectionery hosts public programs, tours, tastings, and private parties. They offer two varieties of tastings, Traditional Craft Chocolate Tasting and Chocolate Taste & Paint Workshop. Every Friday Shane welcomes the public into their 150-year-old building to sample chocolate and confections while exploring their historic shop, kitchens, and production spaces. Learn about the antique equipment and recipes still in use today, while admiring the building’s architecture, decorative arts, and businesses, and immersing yourself in early chocolate and candy-making culture. For more information, contact Laurel@FranklinFountain.com