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Oliver's Candies

May 12, 2019 - 7:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oliver's Candies, landmark society.

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Award text:

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.

March 30, 2019 - 8:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oliver's Candies, batavia, Easter Bunny.
Video Sponsor
November 15, 2018 - 1:11pm

Press release:

Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County teams up with Oliver’s Candies, located at 211 W. Main St. in Batavia, for Santa Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17.

Come visit Santa, shop for sweets and enjoy a petting zoo! There will also be hot dogs for sale! A hot dog, bag of chips and a soda can be purchased for $3.

You can also help build Habitat’s next home by “Sponsoring a Stud.” Sign your name or write a message on a 2 in. x 4 in. for a donation of $1 and it will be added to Habitat’s current project at 6 Manhattan Ave. in the City of Batavia.

All purchases and donations benefit Habitat’s mission to provide decent, affordable housing to families in the community. As always, Habitat thanks you for your support.

October 20, 2018 - 9:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oliver's Candies, elba, business, news.

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Jeremy Liles, owner of Oliver's Candies, with the help of his family and employees, made the company's new production facility in Elba today official with a ribbon cutting.

Oliver's hosted two days of open houses in the candy factory and the satallite candy and ice cream shop on Main Street, Elba. Liles moved production from the Main and Oak location in Batavia, so the business could expand, while keeping the store in Batavia. That store will also expand now that candy production has been moved to Elba.

Previously: Oliver's Candies to triple its manufacturing capacity by moving kitchen to Elba

October 2, 2018 - 1:47pm

(File photo of the Sweet Life Country Store.)

The Grand Opening of the Sweet Life Country Store & Oliver's Candy Factory in Elba will take place Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19-20, with tours, vendors, live music, giveaways and more.

The completely refurbished building is located at 100 S. Main St. (Route 98) in Elba.

On Friday, Oct. 19, there will be candy factory tours and plenty of giveaways, starting at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Then on Saturday, Oct. 20, also from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a trio of vendors will be on site selling their products: Jackie's Jams; Peg's Produce; and Vicki Price Jewelry.

Circle B Winery will offer wine and chocolate tasting. There will be giveaways galore and candy factory tours will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony with representatives of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce will take place that Saturday at noon.

Josh Hawkins will perform live music Oct. 20 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Everybody is welcome and encouraged to attend.

In an exclusive interview with The Batavian on June 14, Oliver's Candies co-owner and Vice President Jeremy Liles shared the 80-year-old company's plans to triple its confectionary manufacturing capacity by moving its kitchen operation entirely to the newly acquired Elba facility. (Here's that story.)

Those plans also included the 1,000-square-foot retail store at the front of the property that offers candy, ice cream, Oliver's custom-roasted coffee, country-style Americana crafts, and more.

(Below is a file photo of the new candy kitchen in Elba where all of Oliver's Candies are now made.)

June 14, 2018 - 11:50am
posted by Billie Owens in elba, batavia, news, Oliver's Candies, notify.

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Oliver's Candies is poised to triple its confectionary manufacturing capacity as it begins operating its kitchen in a newly acquired Elba facility, located at 100 S. Main St. (Route 98).

By this time tomorrow, all the stoves there will be fired up and cooking. It also has a 1,000-square-foot retail store at the front of the property that sells candy, ice cream, coffee and country-style Americana crafts.

The move is a seismic shift for the 80-year-old, renowned local chocolatier and purveyor of colorful ribbon candy, unique sponge candy, and other award-winning sweets.

The entire factory will be based in Elba. The iconic Swiss-chalet-style Batavia store on West Main Street will expand its food service and retail space into the former candy-making areas at the back of the store.

"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)," said Oliver's co-owner and Vice President Jeremy Liles this morning. "We looked at expanding here, but the Tonawanda Creek was problematic and the option was just too expensive."

As it turns out, "We didn't choose Elba, Elba chose us."

He explained that his company owns 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.

That was in November.

"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; it has served as a produce stand and an ice cream stand and a barn sale site.

The remodeling, relocation of cooking operations, and overall expansion plans will cost Liles "more than I ever wanted to pay" but the growth potential is enormous; it is a shrewdly calculated risk.

"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 opportunity there."

A groundswell of corporate and wholesale customers is driving the expansion. 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.

While they are concentrating on manufacturing for the foreseeable future, Liles' vision for the Batavia store is that it keeps its rustic charm and expands the ice cream and coffee customers' seating areas, with great big picture windows overlooking the Tonawanda Creek, with a beautiful roaring fireplace, too.

About a month ago, Oliver's started offering its own custom-roasted coffees. Liles would like to partner with a bakery to sell pastries to go with that coffee in Batavia and Elba. Liles' wife, Sandy, operates the Elba retail store.

"My big dream is to have a drive-thru at both stores," he said.

Liles said now is the company's "quiet time" but by late fall he expects to hire at least two people. And "if Elba takes off," possibly more in both the manufacturing and retail operations.

Meanwhile, there are some cosmetic finishes still needed in Elba, including staining and painting on the outside, and landscaping.

"We've come a long way; it's not 100 percent yet, but we'll get there," he said. "The upstairs is not being used yet. But we have some ideas for the space, like at Christmastime.

"I love doing all this. It's fun, exciting but also very scary."

Top photo: Master candymaker Doug Pastecki and Jeremy Liles.

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