Landmark Society Awards, Oliver's Candies, Adaptive Re-use
Oliver's Candies is a Batavia and Genesee County institution, has been making candy and confections since 1932. It is a destination for many folks from the area and from far away. Over the last few years, cramped conditions at the Batavia operation sent co-owner Jeremy Liles searching for a solution to the problem.
"We've been busting at the seams in Batavia for a couple of years now and we've talked about building onto the existing building (in Batavia)," Oliver's co-owner and Vice President Jeremy Liles said. "We looked at expanding at Main Street location, but the Tonawanda Creek was problematic and the option was just too expensive."
Liles said, "We didn't choose Elba, Elba chose us."
Oliver’s owned commercial properties in several locations in Genesee County. They looked at property in Le Roy and Corfu, but the drive time didn't work. The Elba option was only a six-minute commute from Batavia, and although it required an extensive overhaul, Liles said they acted quickly to seize the opportunity.
"It called to us, and we acted fast," he said. "It had a cute barn for the store, loading docks, smooth concrete. We converted the inside; insulated it; added central heat and air-conditioning, put in steel walls that are easy to clean, new hoods for the ovens. Redid the roofs, which were pretty worn. It's nice."
The structure was built as a warehouse around 1920; it has served as a produce stand and an ice cream stand and a barn sale site.
The conversion of an old and long unused warehouse presented lots of challenges. Liles said that the building cost "more than I ever wanted to pay" but the location was perfect for the growth potential of the candy operation.
"It's very scary -- I've got to sell a lot of candy now," Liles said. "It's a huge change, huge growth, but a lot of opportunities there."
Liles said they are providing a large catalog company with private-label candies and are growing sales in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and are looking at an opportunity in Georgia.
Liles said "I love doing all this. It's fun, exciting but also very scary."
The Landmark Society of Genesee County presents the 2019 Adaptive Re-use Award to Oliver’s Candies.