Leaving our jobs to care for our young sons as it turned out was a good thing. They are both very vital members of the Winfrey Company and play an active role in the growth of our family business.
Back in 1979 our decision created one small problem. We needed money to care for our family. The solution was to make fudge on a gas stove we had installed in the basement of our home. Our plan was to sell it to anyone who would pay for it. Good plan huh? My parents didn't think so! Winter was quickly upon us and we needed to conserve our resources and heat our home.
Every time we made a batch of fudge we realized we also heated our home. (not bad I thought!) We were on a mission to stay warm and conserve our money so we quickly realized we should make lots of fudge!
Many local candy stores purchased our fudge and we were able to manufacture our candy and heat our home at the same time. The demands from our customer's volume put pressure on our home for space. We quickly needed to rent space to manufacture and store our products.
Our first rented location was in Danvers, Massachusetts. We renovated a foundry into our first kitchen. All of our fudge was made in copper kettles over open-flame gas stoves. Our cream and butter was purchased from a small local dairy. (we continue to use the same local dairy today!)
Every batch was stirred by hand with wooden paddles to blend the cream and sugar into our famous fudge. Our first real break came from Brigham's Ice Cream and Candy stores. Their stores were located throughout the greater Boston area; we manufactured all of their fudge.
Winfrey's was now producing 1,000 pounds of fudge for Brigham's every 2 weeks!
In addition to our fudge, we began manufacturing salt-water taffy. Hours and hours were spent on perfecting the process. The secret ingredient of our old New England salt-water taffy is evaporated milk. Today Winfrey's offers over 18 flavors of this silky smooth flavorful confection. Our business continued to grow but so did our family. In 1981 our daughter, Jillian Rose was born.
Over the next ten years, we continued to manufacture and wholesale our products. They included 23 varieties of fudge, 18 flavors of taffy and 10 fine chocolates. Our chocolate line included clusters, chocolate pops, barks, and thin mints. All of our chocolates were made by hand. Tables were covered with clusters, bark and pops!
Winfrey's Fudge & Chocolates started their organization in 1979 just 100 years after the "chocolate" we know today was introduced into the world's palate. The pace of change in consumer expectations regarding the quality of chocolate, the presentation of chocolate products and the variety of chocolates has propelled Winfrey's into an ever-changing structure.
In 1990 we purchased our Rowley manufactory. We had finally purchased our own building large enough to handle all of our manufacturing needs after 10 years of saving and long hours of working toward that goal. We could even open a little retail candy store.
Our first store was approximately 500 square feet. After one Valentine Day and Easter holiday season it didn't take long to realize the store was just too small!
We doubled the space in 1991 by taking valuable storage area. This also proved to be too small so we renovated in 1994 adding 3000 square feet to the back of the building. Offices were moved and the candy store was expanded. We finally have just the right size candy store that we continue to improve and redecorate.
In 1995 a second retail store was added to our business. Stoneham, Massachusetts was the location of this powerful candy store. The community of Stoneham has supported our fine chocolates and fudges with sales increasing every year.
Our newest store in Beverly, Massachusetts is a site to see! You can get a glimpse of some light production while shopping for your favorite treats. Opened in 2013, it is off and running. We love being apart of the Beverly downtown community, we hope to be here a long time!
There are many new chapters to come in our young business. We have a dedicated staff and their contribution to the success of our business is substantial. Please read the important stories of our employees and know while you are reading they are very important people here!