In honor of “Chocolate Covered Anything Day” today, we thought it would only be fitting to highlight one of the jewels of our town– Charlie’s Caramel & Candy Shop.
In 1952, Mr. Charles & Mrs. Lorethea Hamke offered their friends and Charles’s co-worker’s homemade caramel corn as thank-you gifts for helping them remodel their new home. Those men shared their treats with their neighbors and word quickly spread. The Hamke’s phone began ringing with people wanting to buy their caramel corn. After placing an advertisement in the local newspaper, people began knocking on their door. Not long after, Lorethea and her mother Alta began to spend their time making candy instead of sewing while waiting for customers. In 1955, their candy business was born.
In time, Charlie quit Schultheis and worked full-time in the candy kitchen until his passing in 1978. The business continued to flourish with Lorethea at the helm until she sold the business to close family friends Darrel & Emily Bobe, and Lorrinda & Bob Ellermann.
Today, the two families still use Charlie, Lorethea, and Alta’s original recipes and source the best ingredients possible; and it’s paid off. Charlie’s Caramel & Candy Shop has been the Chamber of Commerce’s “Business of the Year,” and is a beloved spot for locals & for visitors from far and wide as well.
Visitors today can still buy caramel corn, turtles, truffles, as well as a variety of other sweets and seasonal treats. If you can’t make it to the store, be sure to place an order online.