Hercules Candy Company was founded over 100 years ago. In 1905, my grandfather, Robert and his 2 brothers, Jim and Pete arrived in America from Greece through a port in Boston, MA . They went to Fulton, NY where they learned the art of candy making.
They opened the Boston Candy Kitchen in 1910 in East Syracuse. The homestead at 209 West Heman Street was purchased in 1918. Robert married Maria Doukas in 1921. The candy store was in East Syracuse until 1924 when Robert and Maria moved the family to Fulton and ran the Boston Candy Kitchen there with Peter. Jim moved back to Greece. Robert and Maria moved back to East Syracuse in 1931 and began making candy in the basement at 209 West Heman Street. In 1945, Robert renamed the store Hercules Candy Company, in honor of his father.
Robert and his wife, Maria, had 7 children: 5 boys and 2 girls: Hercules, Steven, John, Nick, Dan, Georgia and Elaine. They each had their own specialty. Hercules was good at pulling out ribbon candy. John was a good all round candymaker. Nick was good at cream centers, brittle and ribbon candy twisting. My father, Steven, was good at candy canes, hard candies, brittle and cream centers.
Elaine and Georgia were in charge of packaging and sales. These are the jobs that Robert and Maria’s children did when they were old enough. Before that, Robert and Maria did all of the candy making themselves, side by side.
Over the years, each of the older brothers took a turn running the business. My father, Steven, was the last brother to run the store after his father passed away in 1962. My dad closed the store in 1972. I started making candy with my father when I was 12 and always dreamed of running Hercules Candies. In 1977, when I was 21, I saved up $500 and bought some ingredients and reopened Hercules Candies using the same equipment and utensils that had been idle for 5 years. It took me a long time to master the art of making ribbon candy - to get it thin enough and get the flavors just right. Growing up, I learned how to make many different kinds of candy from my family and our customers were so happy to see Hercules Candies operating once more.
My Aunt Lois (Uncle Herc's wife) helped me those first few years. Over the years, various relatives have lent a hand in the candy making to keep Hercules Candies an Andrianos family tradition. Until 1988, Hercules Candies was run seasonally from November until Easter. In 1988, we installed air conditioning and have been operating year round ever since
Candy making is a form of art, in some places, a lost art. We make candy the way it was made in the early 1900's - all by hand without any machines. We roast our own nuts on the premises and purchase our ingredients directly from the source from which they originate - not through a middle man, so that the freshness and quality of our candy speaks for itself.
Now my wife, Terry and I run the business together, as my grandparents did over 100 years ago. Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same, although I have to admit that I thank my lucky stars for our gas fueled candy stove - my grandfather had to cook his candy on a coal stove!
So that's my story. Just remember, when you purchase candy from Hercules Candies, you are not only buying the very best candy, but also a piece of history. Thanks for stopping by!
Steve and Terry Andrianos