Schimpff’s, one of the oldest, continuously operated, family-owned candy businesses in the United States, dates back to the late 1800s.
Watch candy and history being made at Schimpff’s Confectionery in historic Jeffersonville, Indiana, just across the Ohio River from downtown Louisville. Known for their red hots and red-fished shaped candies are among the originals made by this multi-generational family owned confectionery. Another favorite, dating back to when European opera star Helena Modjeska toured the U.S. several times, performing in front of vast and enthusiastic crowds in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1880s. Sure, she thrilled the elite in New York and San Francisco but did they create and name a candy after her?
No but Kentucky did and Modjeskas are very much a treat around here–marshmallows dipped in caramel and then chocolate.
Schimpff’s Confectionery, one of the oldest, continuously operated, family-owned candy businesses in the United States, began in its present location on April 11, 1891. Started by Gus Schimpff Sr. and Jr., the business survived wars, floods, depressions, and recessions through four generations and continues to flourish.
But really, those Schimpffs have been making candy a whole lot longer, starting in Jeffersonville around 1871 and in Louisville since the 1850’s. That’s a lot of candy.
The 1860 census shows various Schimpffs making candy on Preston Street in Louisville. Magdalene Schimpff, a widow, brought five of her eight children from Bavaria to settle in Louisville, where the eldest son had already settled. The two youngest children joined them after finishing elementary school in Germany. Magdalene and daughter, Augusta, went into the embroidery business while the sons went into the confectionery business.
Fast forward through the decades, no make that more than century total, according to their website
|In the 1940s, Catherine, Wig, and his son, Sonny, became the working partners. Wig was the candy maker and Catherine the manager and lunchroom cook.In the 1950s, Sonny developed an area of the store as a hobby business, specializing in model trains and planes. His mother, Vivian, became the bookkeeper.|
After Wig’s death in 1952, Sonny took over as the candy maker and for forty years he and Aunt Catherine built a reputation known widely throughout Southern Indiana. Sonny’s death in 1988 and Catherine’s in 1989 forced another change in the ownership of Schimpff’s Confectionery.
Still a family business, it’s now owned and operated by Warren Schimpff, one of Weber’s sons, and his wife, Jill Wagner Schimpff who bought the candy business from his Aunt Catherine’s estate. They wanted to be able to celebrate the centennial anniversary and to maintain the Schimpff family’s candy legacy.
It’s a romp through candy history as well–there’s an old fashioned soda fountain an a large confectionary museum that’s free of charge.
347 Spring Street
Jeffersonville, IN 47130