Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Anderson's Candy store

I have been a chocoholic for as long as I can remember, and for that, at least in part, I blame the Anderson's Candy store.

Anderson Candy ad,
The Daily Citizen Trade Area Directory,

As a child growing up in Ambridge, I always thought the Easter-time windows at the Anderson Candy store at 529 Merchant Street had the most wondrous displays.

The windows were filled from front to back with homemade chocolate Easter candy: bunnies from small to enormous, eggs filled with a variety of goodness, chicks, and ducks. And for those who were more religiously-minded, but yet didn't think eating a chocolate cross was disrespectful, Anderson's had those too. Milk chocolate, white chocolate, and I seem to recall "pink chocolate"--not sure what that was. Was there usually a huge popcorn bunny too? I think there was.

Anderson's Homemade Candies ad,
Beaver Valley Times,
March 11, 1954

I always looked forward to finding some Anderson's candy in my Easter basket. Well, in truth, I looked forward to some Anderson's candy anywhere at anytime. Still do.

Eating Anderson's Easter candy was how I learned what fine chocolate tasted like, and it wasn't like that less-expensive, waxy, chocolate-flavored Easter candy from other stores. 

According to the Anderson's Candy website, the Ambridge store dates back to 1915 when Harry and Mary Anderson and their children worked not only making and selling candy, but also serving ice cream and fountain drinks. 

When Harry died in 1962, one of his sons, Harold, took over the business. Harold's widow, Goldie, has continued operating the business with her daughters and grandchildren. 

At one time, you could stop in and watch the candy-making at the Merchant Street store.

And back in 1953, Anderson's offered to mail candy "any place in the world." While you can still mail-order candy, the Anderson's shipping area now seems to be limited to the continental U.S.  Sorry, Alaska and Hawaii, my sympathies. And, look, currently, orders of $100 or more ships free! I know I wouldn't have any problem putting together a $100 order.

"The Home of Sweets"
Anderson's Candy ad,
Beaver Valley Times, October 3, 1953

The ad above also gives store locations on Franklin Avenue in Aliquippa and in Sewickley. I don't know when the Aliquippa and Sewickley stores closed, but in January, 1969*, Anderson's announced the opening of its second location--Anderson's Candyland--in Baden at 1010 State Street, not far from the Northern Lights Shopping Center. The Baden store became Anderson's main retail store. And, at the same time, most of the candymaking operations were moved to Baden.

"Now with 2 convenient locations"
Anderson's Candyland ad
Beaver County Times, January 31, 1969

Many of us who grew up in the area remember selling Anderson's chocolate bars as fundraisers for school groups, sports teams, and other organizations we belonged to. Selling Anderson's candy was easier than selling almost any other product.

Anderson's Home Made Candy store,
Merchant Street, Ambridge
March 30, 2014

I was delighted to see the Anderson's Candy store was still on Merchant Street when I visited Ambridge. Right now, the store is "closed for vacation." Since no formal announcement of the store's closing has been made, I am hoping that the closure is truly temporary and that the store will be reopened before my next visit. Anderson's Candy was one of the few long-time businesses left on Merchant Street, and if it closes permanently, I'll miss it. Going to the Baden store doesn't evoke the same memories that the Ambridge store does.

* The Anderson's website says the Baden store was opened in 1964. I don't know why.


  1. still the best of any around

  2. As a little girl, my grandma took us to the movies every week. Afterward we would stop at Anderson's for sundaes or banana splits.