The older that I get the more that I seem to get nostalgic and look back on my childhood when things were a ton of fun and a lot more simpler. Even though I am from Long Island, each summer my family and I would take multiple trips to our Pocono home right in the heart of Mt. Pocono and experience the relaxing atmosphere that the location provided. On top of the beauty that is the Pocono Mountains, there is also a ton of great local establishments that remind us why shopping locally is essentially just as important if not more as shopping at an established brand. One great example of this is Callie’s Candy Kitchen & Pretzel Factory, which is located right in Mountainhome, PA inside the Poconos.
Now granted, the site that I run is about Manhattan culture. However, we all travel. And with the summer season fast approaching (regardless of what Mother Nature say outside) a lot of us are looking into where we should go when the temp gets warmer and the clothing options turn from pants to shorts and sweaters to t-shirts. I highly recommend if you are stopping by the Poconos to try both the Candy Kitchen & Pretzel Factory out for so many different reasons. They make both their candy and pretzels on premises, something that really adds a fresh flavor to both sides of the coin. They have every type of chocolate covered item you can imagine (more on that later) and have a wide assortment of pretzel types that go beyond what you can get while you are waiting for your train at Penn Station. Also, beyond everything their customer service is incredible and they really go the extra effort to make sure that local or not, you leave with some great product and a wonderful time.
I was fortunate enough to sit down with Gretchen Callie, daughter of the owner’s of Callie’s, to learn a little more about the business.
Thanks Gretchen for sitting down with us! So Callie’s has been in business for quite some time. How did you guys get start?
The candy store has been in business for 62 years, started by my mom and dad, Carol and Harry Callie. They both passed away last year. I made candy with my parents my whole life and have been running the business for some time now. The pretzel factory will be 30 years old this year. My husband Mark Reisenwitz ( of 33 years) runs the pretzel factory. So now we run both of them together.
You have a Candy Shop and Pretzel Factory. Can you tell our readers a little bit more about both?
At the pretzel factory we make an everything hard pretzel and a peanut butter pretzel that are great sellers. We make many flavors of popcorn and have about 50 different flavors of hard pretzels. We also make fresh soft pretzels and filled pretzels too. Years ago my parents went on a vacation and would always look around for new ideas and found a left-handed shop. My husband Mark is a lefty so we carry a line of all lefty products from notebooks, rulers, measuring cups, scissors, and mugs. It’s fun for the customers because everyone knows someone left handed.
What are the most popular items that people buy at each?
At the candy store we have everything from fresh chocolate covered strawberries, Philadelphia crream cheese, and grapes. You name it we cover it. Twinkies, pretzels, potato chips, even bacon. Peanut butter is still the best seller whether chocolate covered or in fudge. Every season we change the store for each holiday inside and outside.
Do you make all of your items organically at your stores?
We do not use organic products, but make candy and pretzels on the premises.
How have you achieved longevity in your part of Pennsylvania?
Customer service is #1. Take care of your customers and they will keep coming back. We also have good quality products. Some of our customers have been coming for three or four generations and are still coming and bring friends.
Do you have any plans to open up more stores in your area or outside of it?
NO! Two stores keep us quite busy and that’s more than enough for my husband and I.
How important is it for people to shop locally and support small businesses like your own?
It is very important to be involved in your community. We donate for tricky trays and fundraisers. People remember when you give gift certificates and products. We all support each other. It’s a great little town we live in. We all know each other, so wherever we go it’s always “Hi how are you?”.
What are your biggest hopes for the company in 2015 and beyond?
Just keep doing what we have been doing for 62 years. Make people happy because no one is sad at a candy store or pretzel factory. Health and Happiness.
Want to know more about Callie’s? Can’t make it to the Poconos but want to order some of their delicious items online? Check out their great website! Also, shoot me an email at [email protected] to win an amazing gift basket!