JEFFERSONVILLE, In. (WAVE) - Schimpff’s Confectionery has been been one of the sweetest parts of Jeffersonville history for more than a century. Its legacy continued while signaling the first signs of the holidays to come on Small Business Saturday.
Two decades ago, the store started opening its candy making counters to the public to show how one of their most popular treats, the candy cane, is made.
As per tradition, the store was packed with customers eager for red and white striped treats. The show is put on by co-owners Jill and Warren Schimpff.
“If it’s machine made it’s just a U,” Warren explained, describing the candy cane. “If it’s handmade it’s curved.”
Warren and Jill bought the business after their aunt died in 1990. They told us letting the shop close was very unlikely.
“The business at that time was 99 years old and nothing can die at 99 - even Bob Holt knew that.” Jill said.
The Schimpff’s said during the holidays, thousands of handmade canes are made in their store on Spring Street. But it takes water, skill and a lot of work to turn simple ingredients into actual treats.
First, sugar and orange syrup is heated in water at 330 degrees. Then it’s mixed, lifted and poured out for families and children to see. A splash of peppermint is next added to the 20-pound sweet, followed by some stretching and rolling.
The end product shows off how the family has been treated with 128 years of sugary success.
“It’s either dumb luck or we’ve got a good product,” Warren laughed. "I like to think it’s a little bit of each.”
Because the canes are shaped with just seconds to cool, some customers could be in for a sweet surprise in the form of a made-from-scratch stamp.
“Sometimes you’ll even find a thumbprint in one of them, so it’s made with love,” Jill said.
The Schimpff’s know making candy by hand is rare and unique, adding that they’re honored to have the responsibility to keep it going for all in southern Indiana to see.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming and supporting,” Warren said through tears. “And shop small.”
The Schimpff’s said they don’t know when they’ll stop making candy canes this season because every year is different. But the family said if you keep buying them, they’ll keep making them.