To Whomsoever Enkindles the Faintly Flickering Flame of American Romanticism:
We proudly pronounce that Shane Confectionery, a site that has continually housed working confectioners since 1863, is once more open to the public. Between 1863 and 1898 the Herring candymaking dynasty and Daniel S. Dengler cooked confectionery ingredients sold wholesale within the walls of 110 Market Street, beginning their work while our nation was embroiled in its Civil War and concluding it at the turn of the century.
Between 1899 and 1910, chocolatier William T. Wescott ran the store, cooking his chocolates over a coal fire and letting them cool on inches-thick marble slabs on the upper floors of the building. Between 1911 and 2010, one year shy of a century, the Shane family oversaw the operation of a candy factory and store throughout three generations. The ownership of the shop has changed once more, this time the irrepressible Berley Brothers are holding the reigns of America’s oldest candy store.
On the clear Monday morning of December 5th, amidst the crisp air of early winter and the bright sunlight, a collection of those attached to the newly reopening shop gathered. Here, in this throng of those hoping to soon satiate their need for all things sweet, were assembled the family, friends, well-wishers and neighbors of the Berley Brothers. Cameras flashed and clicked away, ensnaring exact instances of joy and excitement among the members of the small celebration. A ceremony was held, attended by Philadelphia’s honorable Mayor Michael Nutter. At the antique wooden lectern, speeches were given in which hearty thanks were distributed, hopeful anticipation for success in the future was expressed, history was laid out in evocative verbal imagery and values were set down for the business that would soon be open. Applause was offered up in appreciation and the Mayor joined the Berley Brothers in untying the ceremonial ribbon of sapphire blue that bedecked the silvery front door.
Later in the evening, another group convened in the building at 110 Market Street to further celebrate the long-awaited re-opening of the confectionery’s doors. Close friends and family, staff and local supporters enjoyed a tour of the facilities, a champagne toast and mouth-watering treats! Artists and journalists, craftsman and entrepreneurs all came together for the bash, each taking the opportunity to indulge in samples and sweet wandering conversation. Glasses clinked like bells and a hearty voice came up from the throng in unison, echoing “Cheers!” after each stirring toast given by the shop’s proprietors. A warm feeling of merriment and shared geniality linked the group together in their festivities. Indeed, one feels quite jovial upon stepping inside the refurbished Shane Confectionery, we assure you!
The Berley Brothers have spent much sweat and treasure to restore the shop to its most pristine condition, ideal aesthetic, and orderly functionality. The 1911 Chippendale-style cabinetry gleams with a fresh coat of paint in the same color scheme as Independence Hall where our Nation was signed into existence; it has been hand-painted with tedious brushstrokes and detailing. The marble counters have all been buffed and polished. The antique brass scales have been taken apart and cleaned down to the smallest cog and then meticulously reassembled. The hand-hammered copper kettles are shiny and once more contain bubbling vats of chocolate of authentic recipes, set over blue jets of gas-fire. The linoleum on the floors has been ripped out and the original pinewood floorboards underneath have been sanded and re-varnished. The rope-pulled elevator has been fixed and restored (the oldest elevator in the city), the curved glass windows in the storefront have been replaced (the curved glass windows had been broken in the 1970s). Original elements of the building architecture have been re-discovered, including hinged ventilation windows in the basement and a skylight towards the back of the store. We have also converted this backspace to our Ice Cream kitchen, and it runs with efficiency, grace, and the latest and most sanitary equipment.
Period cabinetry now shelves brightly-colored packaging ribbon, and we now have a highly organized filing system for our collection of over three hundred Clear Toy Candy moulds. We have even set a foot into the twenty-first century– developing a state-of-the-art inventory system for our rare and exotic confections that we import from bazaars and markets from the furthest reaches of the globe.
But really, we must convince you of the quality and the merit of our own candymaking craftmanship; we have our award-winning pastry chef Davina Soondrum and her loyal team of confectioners working round the clock to dazzle you with old time favorites, recipes that haven’t been tasted in the passage of a century, and new treats entirely of our own make that have sprouted from the fecund soils of our imagination. So, please, we ask of you to stop by and see with your own eyes the antique glassware which once more displays elegant homemade chocolates and bon-bons, to taste our hand-pulled taffy, to bring home to your family a box of our well-remembered Shane Buttercreams, made on an antique iron fondant cooker weighing two-and-a-half metric tons, which churns the fondant in lavishing dervish swirls, turning the mixture from clear to ghostly opaque. Try some of our house-made chocolate covered pretzels, made with Lancaster pretzels and our own chocolate recipe, both dark and milk. Try some of our hand-dipped chocolate-covered bacon! Eat some of our gourmet marshmallows, coated with chocolate. We have a limitless supply of goodies to whelm your senses with. We hope that you enjoy our handiwork as much as we appreciate your patronage.