Sweet success: Brothers expand revival of old-fashioned treats in Old City
A century-old candy tradition is being revived in Old City.
Shane Candies at Market and Second streets opened in 1911, and closed almost two years ago. Now it has been reinvented as Shane Confectionery, a Victorian-era sweet shop.
It is an old-timey business with old-fashioned values.
The Berley Brothers—Eric and Ryan—opened the Franklin Fountain ice cream shop, where staff members often wear bow ties and handlebar moustaches, on the corner. They bought the Shane candy store two doors down to continue that aesthetic.
The 1950s tile and paint have been removed so the shop could be restored to its original 1911 condition, with brass scales, glass jars, and traditional candies. It looks, smells, and even sounds the way a candy shop used to.
"We really wanted to bring back the theater of candy," said Ryan Berley, a former antiques appraiser. "A big part of that is the scales. It's all about nickel and diming, in penny candy. Lots of change and metallic clinks. It really enriches the experience."
One of the oldest candies made in America is Gibralter, a rock candy (get it?), which has been manufactured in Salem, Massachusetts, since at least the early 19th century. Shane Confectionery has them in folded paper packages, alongside artisanal, fair-trade chocolate from around the world.
Much of the candy is made upstairs. Two of the floors above the candy shop are manufacturing, where staff make butter creams, clear-candy toys, nut clusters, and chocolate-covered anything.
The secret of butter cream
The head confectioner, Davina Soondrum, went to culinary school and has worked with chocolate for six years, but says she never really knew what butter cream was until she started working at Shane.
"It is all done by hand—I can't stress that enough," said Soondrum. "We're literally pulling this heavy mass off of these cream beaters. You can't do it with a spatula. You really have to get in there with your hands. It's like a clay when it comes off the beater. A very grainy piece of clay ... It's really like sculpting."
The trick to butter cream is letting it age for a few weeks. The sugar continues to react with the cream inside the chocolate envelope, turning it richer and creamer over time.
"The other part of the butter cream—use fresh, local butter and fresh chocolate. And making them regularly," said Berley. "They are going to taste better, taste fresher. That's our mantra—do small batches, but always keeping it fresh."
Berley's brother and business partner, Eric, studied philosophy and religion in college and says his values are based on King David, Aristotle, and Ben & Jerry's. He is rarely—if ever—seen out of costume.
"I think it affects people in a good way to be present and on stage in front of others," said Eric Berley. "It makes people aware of what they are wearing and what they are saying. That's an important value."
The opening of Shane Confectionery is Dec. 5—but the owners hint that there may be a "soft" opening beforehand.
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