Abbott’s Candies

On a recent visit to Ohio and Eastern Indiana we visited a nostalgic candy store that I completely fell in love with - Abbot's Candy Shop in Hagerstown, Indiana. It was one of a dozen stops on the Richmond-Wayne County, Indiana 2019 Chocolate Trail. 

You can pick up a passport for the Chocolate Trail at the Old National Road Welcome Center in Richmond that you take to each location for a chocolate sample. With your passport, you get a milk chocolate cream or dark chocolate cream. And their chocolates are a dream - super smooth and creamy.

The original caramel cutter that is still in use today.

Besides the chocolate, their big seller is their old fashioned caramels. They're still made the old-fashioned way from the original recipes, cut on a hand-cranked cutter that dates back to the late 1800s and hand-wrapped. Each 40-pound batch makes about 900 pieces of soft caramel. They typically make 5 batches a day.

The business was started by Will Abbott in Hagerstown in the 1890's. Abbott also owned a successful restaurant, but decided to give it up and concentrate on candy making. After his death in 1942, his son. Bruce, took over the business. Bruce died suddenly in 1949 and at that time his wife, Rhea, and mother-in-law, Florence, who had no candy-making experience kept the place going with the help of some loyal employees.

Rhea's three children helped with the business over the years and Rhea continued running the candy shop and later opened a gift shop. She continued to oversee the business until her death in 1988 and her daughter Suanna then took over. The candy shop was run by Suanna until her retirement in 2012 when the business was purchased by Jay and Lynn Noel who currently run the business with the help of their two sons. Jay and Lynn owned an Indianapolis candy store, Abbot's Also, that carried Abbot's candy for more than 20 years.

The Noels continue to produce high-quality, hand-made confections from those original recipes. If you can't make it out to Hagerstown, you can visit the website, to place an online order or find locations in Indiana and Ohio where it can be purchased.

Be sure to stop at the Old National Road Welcome Center in Richmond
to get a passport for the Chocolate Trail that can be presented for free
chocolate samples at a dozen different locations in Wayne Co.
In addition to plain caramel, they offer a number of flavored versions, including pecan, cream puff, licorice, raspberry/cashew and the seasonal caramel apple flavor. On most Wednesdays, Thursdays and Friday you're able to look through the windows into the chocolate room where there's a moving conveyor carrying candies like the one used in the popular "I Love Lucy" scene where she and Ethel have trouble keeping up with their candy-packing duties. There's also an area called "The Front Porch" where you can look into the caramel-making area and watch production. The candy factory and showroom is in a former church that dates back to 1852.

One other cool tidbit...there's a display of historical information in the showroom and among the items is a thank you note to the owners from Bob Hope, written in 1998. Apparently Hope was a fan of their candy and they'd sent him a box of caramels for his birthday. They kept the fact that he was a customer hush-hush, but after his death, the proudly displayed the letter in the store, in which he wrote, "My dentist my not like, you, but I love you."

This is a spot that is definitely worth veering off the interstate for. It's just a few minutes off of I-70 and so worth a visit.

48 E. Walnut St.
Hagerstown, IN
(877) 801-1200