OSWEGO — A group of Port City entrepreneurs is fighting to keep the candy-making tradition alive in Oswego.
Stone’s Homemade Candy Shop, a staple of Oswego’s confectionery culture and tradition that has been satisfying the community’s needs for sweet treats since 1973, is planning a grand re-opening of its new 23 W. Seneca St. location Friday at 10 a.m. under new ownership.
The collaboration of Diego Lebaudy, Jeff McCrobie, Don Regan and Bill Galloway helped the company move from its former West Bridge Street location earlier this year, after Regan’s mother — the former owner of the company — transferred ownership to Regan.
For Oswego real estate tycoon Bill Galloway, the company’s change in ownership provided the chance to expand and fit the historic brand into the city’s mosaic of downtown reinvigoration.
“We saw an older business like Stone’s as an opportunity to make sure it didn’t close and to see it grow and move forward and change into a new location,” Galloway told The Palladium-Times Tuesday. “There was a possibility that it would close down if nobody stepped forward.”
Galloway, whose family has been at the forefront of Oswego real estate for decades, partnered with the other Port City businessmen to decide on the company’s direction with counseling from organizations such as the Oswego Renaissance Association.
“I do a lot of commercial real estate in Oswego and it has been nice to see downtown change,” Galloway said. “From when it was just a few stores open and the rest were vacant, and up until now, it has been nice to see the businesses opening up: restaurants, stores and different types of businesses growing.”
A change in city leadership has been a big part of the city’s downtown blossoming, according to Galloway.
“With (Mayor Billy Barlow) and the way he is assisting businesses, it is a great time to see these businesses growing and opening and existing businesses being able to expand,” Galloway said.
The expansion plans include a new deck that will help connect to the candy shop with the heart of downtown, Galloway said, with homemade ice cream sold from the storefront.
“We will have outside seating, we’ll be closer to Linear Park and people will be able to walk to concerts and get their ice cream and candy,” he said.
Expanding its products’ availability for customers around the nation is also in the cards for Stone’s.
“We are also turning into a shipping business,” Galloway said. “We are able to ship all around the country for anybody who is looking to purchase our products, our chocolates, so that is really starting to expand. We are kind of reorganizing our business to fit those plans.”
One of Stone’s most popular products is sponge candy, a saccharine confection covered in chocolate beloved in western and central New York.
Regan traces the origins of the crispy, yet soft and melt-in-your-mouth candy back to the 1920s in Buffalo. Stone’s is only one of five establishments to make the candy, the confectioner said, and the store has its own secret recipe that consists of the basics like water, sugar, corn syrup — along with an undisclosed secret ingredient.
“Sponge candy seems to be the number-one item that everybody seems to be excited about,” Galloway said, noting that the weather plays a factor in how much of the sponge — also known as “sea foam” candy — can be produced at a certain time and where it can be produced.
The new location on West Seneca Street has been serving customers sponge candy, chocolate products and gummy-based products since Sept. 6, but Galloway said the Friday ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. is a very “exciting” opportunity to attract new customers.
“We are excited about the business that is now up and running again, and we are here to fill all the needs of the Oswego community,” he concluded.