Paul Baker’s idea back in 1947 was just to go to candy making school to learn a few candy making tricks. He had no great visions of what was to become. “Making candy was always something I just messed around with,” he said. Those tricks and a few ideas of his own led to the beginning of Candyman as we know it today.
Candy was a hobby until 1964 when Paul started selling chocolate full time. Until then he made his living as an accountant. He started a small candy store with his brother, but an idea kept popping up. He felt that there would come a time when individuals would not have the time needed to make good candies, but there would always be a desire. So with his wife Irene keeping the home fires burning, he traveled extensively giving candy making classes to any group that would gather. He became a regular with the Missouri Home Extension Service giving classes. Through trail and error, Mr. Baker helped develop what we know today as Summer Coating (a non-tempered chocolate). No special equipment or skill would be needed.
In 1981, the Candyman moved from his small warehouse on Clinton Street to a larger facility off of I-35. Why Lathrop, you ask? Paul said that he followed his long time barber to his hometown. Either the haircuts were really great or Paul found some cheap help!
This is about the time I come into the picture. Paul hired me to setup and open a retail store in his new building. I was taught by the original Candyman, himself, how to make candies and give demonstrations. A year later, Joan, Paul’s daughter, and her husband, David, (both former teachers) took over the business. To nobody’s surprise, Paul didn’t accept retirement easily. He would visit customers and search for new ones, classes and demos were still his top priority. The Candyman’s motto was “SERVICE”. As the business grew, I went from sales clerk to head of wholesale accounts. I processed all the wholesale orders. After the computer age arrived at Candyman I went from head of one department to managing it all. With a little nudge from my husband, Don, we purchased the business in May 2005.
Mr. Baked died December 1, 1993. Joan and David have since moved on to retirement.
The owners have changed, but the purpose and goals are the same as they were over 40 years ago … “SERVICE”.
Many changes have occured over the years … some good, some not so great. Candyman has always upheld it’s goal to help out the average candy maker and smaller retailers. We hope to be of assistance to you in the near future.
Have a prosperous year and Happy Candy Making!
— Roxann Shook