The tradition of Fuller’s Candies started during the Great Depression when Joseph Frederick Fuller was laid off after working 15 years on the Pennsylvania Railroad. Raising three children, Paul, Charles and Elva, with his wife Grace Emily (Troy), “Fred” invested the money given to him as a veteran of World War I by the United States government to purchase a Karmel Korn franchise. The first store was located on Market St. in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, 1932.
According to the memoirs of Elva (Fuller) Parker, “Fuller’s Candies; A Real Cottage Industry” , “I was about 7 or 8 years old when candy was first made at our home on State Street in Nanticoke. To help get started, James Kelly did the initial candy dipping and cooking of the nougats and caramels. I vividly remember the “hook” on which the taffy was pulled to create the candy canes and other hard candies. My mother, Grace Fuller, pitched right in to learn how to handle the melted chocolate for hand-dipping, filling the Easter candy moulds and decorating. Our sales area was the Market Street Karmel Korn Shop. In 1937, the family candy making was moved to a larger area-Ridge Street in Nanticoke. This included a larger living area for the family, small retail store plus expanded candy working area. There were now 2 retail stores.”
Following the end of World War II, Paul and Chuck safely returned home after active duty with the United States Air Corps; Paul as a navigator on a B-24 bomber and Chuck as a bombardier. It was Fred’s desire to unite the two retail shops into one location, having the candy making and sales department under one roof, Market St., Nanticoke. It was Grace and Fred’s hope that they would have jobs for their two sons when they returned home from serving their country. The three men worked together serving caramel corn, homemade ice cream, breakfast and luncheon foods as well as an expanded candy business (assorted hard candy, ribbon candy, candy canes, chocolate covered centers and moulded pieces). Fuller’s Restaurant became a popular local “hang out” for young and old alike. As one ate delicious food, the juke box was playing in the background and a pinball machine was nearby.
Both handsome young men met their future wives while working in the store; Erma Jean Elmy and Louise Myers. Paul and “Jean” worked hand and hand with Fred and Grace throughout the forties and fifties. Paul often worked as a mechanist in the area but always helped in the evenings and weekends in the family candy business. Grace became the sole proprietor of Fuller’s in the sixties and Paul was right by her side every step of the way. With Grace’s passing in 1975, Paul and Jean continued with the tradition of making the finest handmade chocolates with a personal touch. They would individually decorate each Easter egg or moulded chocolate piece often making each one different from the next.
As the traditional of making homemade chocolates was passed from Fred and Grace to Paul and Jean, the third generation of Peggy, Gale and Sue was the next to learn. Oldest son Paul pursued a successful career as an independent contractor-creating with wood instead of chocolate. Gale and Sue will forever be the neatest hand “dippers” in the family with Peggy managing the operations in the sales and packing areas of the business. Gale followed the family military tradition by joining the United States Army Reserves and traveling with her husband, Mark Armstrong to Alabama, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas and Nebraska. Sue followed her dream to move down south settling in Florida. Peggy remained to carry on the family traditions.
Presently, Peggy and her husband Paul have joined with their children Paul, Andrew, David and Tim to learn the techniques and skills from Paul and Jean. These third and fourth generations of chocolatiers are committed to creating the finest hand crafted chocolates that began so many years ago.
May we be as committed to our customers and confections as the members of the greatest generation modeled for us!