Schimpff's Confectionary in Jeffersonville Indiana recently celebrated their 120th anniversary. They are the oldest family owned and operated candy store in the United States and a major tourist attraction in the area. Many people know if you want red hot's, you go to Schimpff's. There is a lot of history in this store!
The State of Indiana designated Schimpff's Confectionary as one of it's "Hidden Treasures" in 1994. They were founded in 1891 by Gustav A. Schimpff, Sr. and has been family owned for four generations. They have also been in the same location, surviving three major floods. In 2001 Warren and Jill Schimpff expanded the confectionary into the building next door, adding a candy museum and candy demonstration area.
I was there for the cinnamon red-hot demonstration. What a treat! They use pure cinnamon oil, very strong scent. It was wonderful. The process is fairly short and all completed on an antique stove, candy table and by using antique candy molds. They only use an antique Brass Drop Roll Machine, and candy molds that line the walls. The red hot mold is square and one batch of candy makes about 1500 pieces. They also make lemon drops, which are lemon shaped, with this process.
"We are known for our Cinnamon Red Hot's, Lemon Drops, Horehound Drops and Fish Candy." Walt Murphy, manager, stated during the demonstration. They are also known for their hand-dipped Modjeska, which is named after famous Polish born actress, Madame Helena Modjeska who performed in Louisville in 1883.
Schimpff's offers a huge selection of candy, including diabetic candies, suckers, chocolates, chocolate covered items, hard candy, jelly beans and even candy that resembles Legos. You can stay and visit a while at the 50's soda fountain or even have lunch. They have a nice selection of deli sandwiches and sides available.
The Candy Museum is a large room full of candy throughout the years. They have an very early candy vending machine as well, made of wood. It was very interesting to see the packaging and containers evolve over time.
This old-fashioned candy store has also received national recognition. They have been in "Country Living Magazine" and were featured on the History Channel's "Modern Marvels" which typically airs three or four times a year. You may also purchase a copy in store.
If you are looking for a unique candy experience, stop by the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. Each year the Schimpff's and staff work overtime to make all of their candy canes and candy ribbons on those days. I was told the store and demonstration area is jam packed with on-lookers and they make candy all day. It is a neat process that involves hanging the candy on a large hook that is on the wall and pulling, pulling, pulling.
Schimpff's offers tours and candy demonstrations throughout the day, but require reservations for groups. They are located at 347 Spring Street, Jeffersonville, In 47130. Phone: (812) 283-8367 or web is www.schimpffs.com and are also on Facebook. Operating hours are Monday-Friday 10:00-5:00 and Saturday 10:00-3:00.
Photo credit: Roxane Haynes