5 things to love about the epic Dayton chocolate-maker Esther Price

Many in the Miami Valley can recognize the gold candy box with its signature red bow as Esther Price Candies.

Here are just a few things to love about Esther Price Candies:

Since the Great Depression. In 1926, Esther Price, a downtown Dayton department store employee, took advice from her co-workers and started a chocolate-making business out of her home. Price continued baking and selling chocolates out of her home until 1952, when she opened her first store on Wayne Avenue.

New owners. In 1976, four friends- Jim Day, Ralph Schmidt, Jim Bates and Joe Haarmeyer - bought the chocolate company from Price. Schmidt and Day later bought out the other partners just a few years later, and Esther Price Candies has been owned by the Day family since Schmidt’s passing in 2006.

Same recipe. The same chocolate recipe that Price used in 1926 is the one Day still uses.

“It’s the recipe and the way she made things,” Day said of Esther Price’s candies. “We use regular, pure chocolate, a Swiss-made chocolate, and we use 40 percent butterfat cream and real butter. We don’t use any added fillers or preservatives. You have to treat our candy like you do butter and put it in the refrigerator so it lasts longer, but that’s how you know it’s good.”

Red bows are hand tied. The signature red bows on boxes of Esther Price Candies are all hand tied by employees at the production facility on Wayne Avenue. There are about 120 employees working at the facility that produces nearly 10,000 candies a day.

90th birthday. The chocolate company celebrated its 90th birthday in 2016. In those years the company has expanded from three standalone stores to seven. In addition, there are 87 locations that sell Esther Price Candies, products wholesale in five states - Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Illinois.

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