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Sweet success

Convention stops at Marie’s Candies

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ABOVE: Linda Rose, left, talks Thursday with Retail Confectioners International visitors to Marie’s Candies, 311 Zanesfield Road, West Liberty, as she and other employees box the company’s one pound assortment boxes of light and dark chocolates from a conveyor belt. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Marie’s Candies employees Yvonne Humphrey, left, and Doris Murray, far right, work together to top peanut cluster butter cremes with chocolate. Watching the candy makers are Courtney Amyot, second from the left, and Naomi Elsier from the Nutty Chocolatier of Toronto, Canada. (EXAMINER PHOTOS| MANDY LOEHR)

About 200 candy makers from around the U.S. and Canada visited Marie’s Candies at 311 Zanesfield Road, West Liberty, Thursday for a tour in conjunction with the Retail Confectioners International annual convention.

The RCI convention for candy makers small and large began Monday and continued throughout the week in Cincinnati.

Participants also toured Esther Price in Dayton on Thursday, and other tour stops this week included Graeter’s in Cincinnati and the Golden Turtle in Lebanon.

At the West Liberty business, guests toured production areas to see first-hand how the candies are made, and had the chance to talk with the candy experts about various techniques and practices.

Themed displays for such holidays as Christmas and Halloween were set up throughout the facility with ideas for how to present candies alongside other decorative items. The retail store also was open for business as well.

Samples of peppermint chews, chocolate-covered cherries, mint meltaways and many other sweets were available during the tour.    

Participants also learned about the history of the family business started by Marie and Winfred King in 1956 in their country kitchen. Mrs. King had started making candy as a way to say “thank you” to their friends and family members for their help while her husband dealt with the effects of polio, according to the company’s Web site, www.mariescandies.com.

As their business continued to grow, the couple built a combination house and candy shop in West Liberty  in 1966.

Then in 1996, Marie’s Candies opened the doors of the restored West Liberty train depot, just in time to celebrate 40 years in retail business.

Upon their departure, visitors received a box filled with treats, including buckeyes, peanut cluster maple creams, a salty caramel called “Sea Salt Sallies” and “Chimney Sweets,” a candy with a chocolate center covered in chocolate and dipped in white coating.

A chocolate-covered gingerbread man and “lily pads,” a Dutch pretzel filled with caramel and covered in chocolate, also were included in the treat boxes.

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