Worthington News

Eagle Family Candy, Weiland's forge new partnership

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CHRIS PARKER/THISWEEKNEWS
James Peck hand-stirs melted caramel in a copper pot at Eagle Family Candy, 4590 N. High St. The shop's new partnership will see its candy sold at Weiland's Market.

Worthington resident Dee Dee Eagle always enjoyed the idea of being the fourth generation to run the family business.

Jennifer Williams, not so much; she spent 20 years in corporate communications and marketing before returning to the enterprise her great-grandfather started.

The two women now find themselves the owners, respectively, of Eagle Family Candy Co., 4590 N. High St., and Weiland's Market, 3600 Indianola Ave.

In fact, at the suggestion of state Sen. Jim Hughes (R-Clintonville), the two recently entered into a business arrangement for Weiland's to carry some of the candy company's products.

"I love the idea of two Clintonville businesses working together and kind of joining forces," said Williams, whose great-grandfather and grandfather owned Williams Market.

Her father worked with George Weiland to open the business that now bears the latter's name.

Eagle's great-grandfather, George H. Eagle, started a chocolate business on West Fifth Avenue in 1919. Her grandfather opened the current location in 1946 and her father took over in 1986.

Eagle said she dropped off some samples at Weiland's on a Friday afternoon several weeks ago.

"Within, like, five minutes, Jennifer had contacted me and said she'd love to do business and she'd love to sell our candy," Eagle recalled.

"I think it's awesome. I think it just speaks volumes. Weiland's started next door to our original location here. It's just kind of neat, the history of us being in the community for so long."

Williams called her offer "an absolute no-brainer."

"Part of it was, 'Why didn't I think of that before?' I grew up with Eagle candy, too, and I think it's going to help them because they're such a tiny store," she said. "Being here is going to give them better exposure for people who've never heard of them or don't know what goes on in that small store. I'm happy to do that."

Eagle and her husband, James Peck, became owners of what had been John Eagle Candies in August 2012, after her mother fell ill.

"My dad was closing, so my husband and I stepped in and kind of rebranded," she said.

Last June, James Peck left an 11-year career with Anheuser-Busch to help Eagle run the family operation into which he had married.

"I've always wanted to take it over," Eagle said. "I saw this in my future. The title 'fourth-generation chocolatier' always appealed to me."

She said the Eagle Family Candy Co.'s chocolate still is made from a secret recipe handed down by her great-grandfather, and that a piece of equipment in the store dates to 1914.

"We haven't changed any of our recipes," she said. "We haven't added anything at all.

"I think everyone likes chocolate. It never gets old. Our product pretty much speaks for itself.

"Our customer base has been so loyal. It's like a tradition, handed down from generation to generation," Eagle said.

"We're looking to grow and expand so we have the fifth, sixth, seventh generations down the road."

Williams wasn't sure she wanted to be in the grocery business, she said, but handling communications and marketing for a major banking firm had grown old.

"I knew that I would be happy being out of corporate America," she said. "The thing that makes me the happiest is the personal contact with our customers -- having that personal relationship with them and talking to people who went to high school with my dad, people I went to high school with and people I used to baby-sit.

"The cool thing about being Weiland's is the sense of community and tradition and history, and being part of that."

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