NOSTALGIC CANDIES SINCE 1901
Idaho Candy Company began as a dream for T.O. Smith in his home in 1901. Mr. Smith had been a journeyman candy maker in Chicago, IL and Salt Lake City, UT before he moved to Boise, ID to help build the Dewey Palace Hotel in Nampa, ID. After finishing the hotel he found himself out of work and started making candy and selling it door to door out of shoe boxes. Not long after starting T.O. had seventeen ladies making candy in a small frame shop in the vicinity of 8th & Fort Street in Boise supplying the sweet tooths in Idaho.
In 1909 Mr. Smith teamed up with the Adams family to build a modern factory at 412 South 8th Street in Boise to meet the growing needs of his customers. The Adams were either part owners or owners of Idaho Candy Company until 1969, when it was purchased by Don Wakeman, the son of the former plant manager. The new 1909 factory was touted as the most modern building in Boise at the time. The factory included sky lights and a "welfare" or break room for the employees. This is the same 23,000 sq ft factory that we make our candies in today. Some of the equipment used in the early 1900's is still in use today.
In this factory Idaho Candy Company produced over 50 different candy bars over the years and many varieties of boxed chocolates. Some of the bar names included: Chicken Dinner Bar, Brazil Cremes, Mint Patty, Big Chief, Quarter Section, Fox Trot and many others. Three of those candy bars are still in production: Idaho Spud Bar (1918), Old Faithful Bar (1925) and the Cherry Cocktail Bar (1926) and one new candy bar Huckleberry Gems (2012). Our factory also produces 3 varieties of Owyhee Butter Toffee (1925), available in original chunk style, bite sized and chocolate covered. We also make about 12 different kinds of tub, bag and bulk candies all in the same "modern" factory at 412 S. 8th Street in Boise, ID.
This was the name given the beautiful Sandwich Islands by Captain James Cook when he discovered them on his second voyage in 1778. Afterwards, they were called the Hawaiian Islands.
The association of this name with a river, a range of mountains, and a county in Idaho came about through the activities of the Hudson Bay Company, when in 1819, three Sandwich Island Indians, or Owyhees, under the leadership of Captain Donald Mackenzie, were trapping on the river that now bears the name when they were attacked by a band of Snake Indians and killed.
After this time the river was known as the Sandwich Island River and was later called the Owyhee River. The mountains and the county were subsequently named from the river. Idaho Candy Company uses Owyhee as a registered brand name on our candy. Originally, as expressed by Captain Cook, the word meant Delightful, Beautiful, or Satisfying, which is truly symbolized in the famous Owyhee Chocolates.
Idaho Candy Company's most famous employee is most definitely Violet Brewer. Vi began work at Idaho Candy in 1913, when her mother took ill and Vi had to work to help support the family. Vi was only 13 years old at the time and her first job was stoking the furnace. Later on she became the premier hand chocolate dipper for the company. Vi dipped and rolled chocolates for 50 years and later went to the weighing department where she worked for another 30 years. Vi finally retired in 1995, 82 years after she started with the company. She passed away at the age of 101 after living a "sweet" life.
Today Idaho Candy Company is owned by the Wagers family. John Wagers, grew up in Nampa, Idaho and bought the company in 1984, after having been a local accountant for over 20 years. He always said he had the sweetest job in town. Dave Wagers, his son, now serves as President. The company still makes its famous Idaho Spud Bars and Owyhee Butter Toffee. We also make about 20 different kinds of bulk candies all in the same "modern" factory at 412 S. 8th Street in Boise, ID.
Even though we have been in the same candy plant since 1909, that doesn't mean the factory has stayed the same. We have upgraded all four manufacturing floors in the past two years including new cooking floors, ceilings and new electrical service. Some of the old equipment has been replaced, but some is nearly as old as the building. All employees now undergo food safety and safety training on a regular basis. We passed our last food safety audit with a great score for our old factory, 900/1,000.
Idaho Candy Company sells our candies to retail customers that come in our door, internet customers from around the world, direct to businesses across the country, and to distributors in 12 states. In short, Idaho Candy Company continues to thrive thanks to our customers and because our employees strive to make great, nostalgic candy, one piece at a time.