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Family Candy Shop Still Thriving After Nearly 70 Years

December 23, 2015

Stevers Candies
Twelve Days of Small Business Badge

We’re recognizing small businesses across the country for the positive impact they make on their local communities throughout the holiday season and all year long.

The importance of family is perhaps never more prevalent than it is during the holiday season. And for Stever’s Candies, the holidays mean lots of family business.

Stever’s Candies has been a staple in the Rochester, NY community since 1946. Douglas Stever and his wife, Hilda, opened their first small shop shortly after Douglas returned from serving in World War II. The Stevers survived chocolate shortages and post-war sugar rationing and are still going strong more than a half century later. Kevin Stever and his wife, Leslie, now run the business.

At one point, the shop had three locations throughout Rochester. Beginning in 1970, however, it was decided to stick with one home – 623 Park Avenue – where they’ve been fully operating ever since. Located in an old, tutor-style home, the smell of chocolate fills the air all year round, but holidays are some of the busiest and most rewarding times of the year.

“This is a wonderful time of year for small businesses throughout our community,” says Leslie Stever. “For us, this time of year is a very close second to our busiest time which happens just before Easter.”

In order to accommodate the increased demand for all things sweet, Stever’s typically hires 2-3 extra employees to work from October through Easter.

Those additional employees, along with the regulars, are very hard at work. As Leslie explains, candy making is a very labor intensive and time consuming process. She says making just one batch of their popular caramels takes just over two hours.

After working non-stop from fall through spring, Kevin and Leslie shut the shop down completely for the month of July.

“We lock the door, put the answering machine on and head for the beach, pool, golf course, and garden, so we all can get re-charged for another season at Stever's,” the shop’s website states.

One month off and then it’s back at it again, gearing up for another season of candy.