Zitner - The Philly candy company that could
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - April 19, 2011 (WPVI) -- They're made at an unmarked factory in North Philadelphia and they rarely get more than about a two-hour drive from home. But, with no promotion to speak of, Easter eggs from the Zitner Candy Corporation sell at a record-breaking pace year after year.
The company was recently sold to its fourth owners, but has never deviated from the recipes Sam Zitner used on day one back in the 1920s.
Present owner Evan Prochniak has no intention of tampering with success.
The eggs come in coconut cream, double coconut, peanut butter, marshmallow, butter cream, and the signature "butter krak," a trademarked combination of coconut and butter cream..
Most are sized right for just a bite or two, but you can get them in larger sizes up to a pound, mostly used in Easter baskets.
Setting up and producing those eggs occupies the plant for most of the year. During the remaining few months, Zitner's chocolate-coats pretzels and sells them, unbranded, to supermarkets which retail them in their bakery departments.
You'd expect a large candy producer to be heavily automated, but Zitner's has always employed a team of experienced candy makers and they still do, some with more than 30 years of service.
Cook Walter Orth, who's made the centers for 33 years now, says you can taste the difference all the human touch makes.
Chocolate is not processed from scratch by Zitner's, but they purchase all their coating chocolate from Wilbur's in nearby Lititz, Lancaster County.
The company has relationships with wholesalers who distribute the eggs to retail chains like Wal-Mart and Wawa.
There is no direct sale to any retail company. They recently developed a relationship with Reading Terminal Market's Pennsylvania General Store, which has a website where individuals order the eggs for shipment out of town.
Otherwise, the candy never makes it much beyond a two-hour drive from Philadelphia, a little north of New York, south of Washington, D.C., and west of Harrisburg.
For more information about the candy, you may visit the company's website, http://www.zitners.com. But if you want to order candy, you must go to the Pennsylvania General Store's website, http://pageneralstore.com. Click on the "Zitner's Eggs" icon.
You will be taken to a page where you may order packages of nine eggs or boxes of 24.
There are discounts for larger orders.
Their retail store in Reading Terminal Market is open seven days a week, and you may phone them at 215-592-9772.
food, philadelphia, pennsylvania, easter, holidays, local/state
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