By Barbara Allen, Contributing Writer
Bolton – The gracious white colonial, majestic pillars flanking its front entrance, is tucked into the bend of a road cradled by the highway, and has been a familiar landmark for travelers on I-495 for many years.
Richard Hebert said that he and his wife, Grace, selected the location for their business, Colonial Candies, with just that reason in mind: visibility and easy access from the highway. In the late 1970s, the Heberts moved their candy company, family-run since 1917, from Worcester to its current location at 47 Sugar Road, directly off exit 27 in Bolton. There they constructed the impressive building, with its traditional post and beam structural elements, to house the business.
“The building [itself] is our biggest attraction,” Richard said. “It grabs your attention when driving by.”
“A lot of our [new] customers tell us, ‘I’ve been going by this place for years, and finally had a chance to stop,’” he added.
The Heberts estimate that about 95 percent of their business comes from I-495. Bolton, they agree, is a convenient halfway point for many travelers on their way to and from Maine or Connecticut, and the store is a good rest spot, particularly for those with young families.
“It’s a good place to stop, refresh yourself,” Richard noted.
In addition to shelves lined with their signature chocolates, the store features an ice cream shop with a make-your-own sundae bar, as well as a gift shop chock full of toys, jewelry, glassware, greeting cards and other items.
Colonial Candies’ boxed chocolates come in different combinations of white, dark and milk chocolate, as well as classic samplers which include creams and caramels. The store sells chocolate bark, turtles and the all-time favorite: chocolate-covered Oreos.
“We sell tons of those,” laughed Grace.
The Heberts estimate that they sell about 3,000 specialty Oreos per week.
Chocolate pops in seasonal shapes are another popular item.
“We just got through with the Easter [season],” said Richard.
“And now we are into our summer theme,” continued Grace, indicating baskets of dark, milk and white chocolate pops in the shapes of seashells, sailboats, lobsters and lighthouses stacked on tables throughout the store. She mentioned that the themed pops are often purchased as favors for bridal showers.
“I like the satisfaction of knowing when families come in, they have a good time,” Richard explained. “We host Santa, the Easter Bunny. We appeal to all ages. Whole families come in on Mother’s Day for ice cream; husbands stop in for that last minute gift. Everyone likes a nice box of chocolate.”
All of the candy is made on the premises; the lower level of the building houses the candy-making operation, where the Heberts and other staff members work seven days a week, 364 days a year, in sweet production; Colonial Candies is only closed on Christmas Day.
The Heberts live above the retail store, which can also make it hard to “get away” from the business. But Richard mentioned one benefit of living on-site.
“No excuse for being late for work,” he laughs.
Colonial Candies is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. -7 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Phone: 978-779-6586. For more information, visit colonialcandies.com.