TOWNSHIP – Supply issues have forced Ben Heggy’s Candy Co. to temporarily close its downtown location just before the holidays – its traditionally busy season.
Handwritten signs displayed along the windows of the nearly century-old storefront alert consumers of chocolate, candies and nuts that the store has been closed several days this week.
“Sorry for the inconvenience,” read the sign.
“We couldn’t buy chocolate and are trying to restock it,” said Richard Wollenberg, co-owner of the Heggy’s factory, on Wednesday.
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Wollenberg, 85, has worked at the factory since 1954. He is co-owner with Nancy Heggy, daughter of company founder Ben Heggy.
According to Wollenberg, the company that previously supplied Heggy’s chocolate has been bought out and orders have become entangled.
“We’ve been trying to restock since mid-October,” Wollenberg said.
Heggy severed ties with the chocolate company now owned by Cargill and bringing in products from another company, which Wollenberg refused to disclose.
COVID-19 has also affected supplies.
“There was a time when we couldn’t get nuts, boxes or chocolate,” Wollenberg said.
Heggy’s downtown store closed until further notice
Heggy’s made the decision to close on Saturday and attempted to reopen on Monday, but closed after the business was hit hard by customers looking for holiday gifts.
“We had to shut down. Our chocolate coated pecans and peanuts go away as fast as we put them out,” Wollenberg said.
There was a constant stream of traffic on Tuesday in the store parking lot. Customers got out of their vehicles, walked to the front door to turn around empty-handed.
Wollenberg said he made the mistake of sitting in the parking lot to watch.
“I was swarmed outside,” he said. “People wanted to know what was going on. They were looking to buy stuff for the holidays, and I just told them it happened.”
A woman walked several blocks Tuesday afternoon in search of holiday chocolates and tried to open the store’s main door.
“I don’t remember there ever was a time when they were closed when they should be open.… I hope everything is fine,” she said, turning around and walking away. .
In total, Wollenberg believes Heggy’s has closed a total of three times, including this week.
Ben Heggy himself closed the factory in 1954 and the factory closed again about 35 years ago due to machine failures, Wollenberg recalled.
The factory now has everything it needs to replenish its inventory but needs time to put everything together and make the treats.
Wollenberg said he hoped the store would reopen fully stocked on Friday, but that customers would have to call ahead of time first.
The same goes for other Heggy’s retailers in the area who have been patiently waiting to see new inventory.
Heggy’s Nut Shop on Tuscarawas Street W is independently owned but sources from Heggy’s downtown location. They were also running out of candy on Wednesday, a worker at the Canton Repository said.
Do not order online, come in store!
Heggy’s website is no longer accepting online orders. Orders that have been previously submitted will be fulfilled, but they will not accept any new submissions until further notice.
Wollenberg said if people want chocolates, candies or nuts for the holidays, they have to visit and buy in person.
“Call the store before you go downstairs to see if we’re open and to make sure we have what you’re looking for,” he said.
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