Esther Price – Dayton’s Sweetheart

Christmas in Dayton isn’t complete until a box of Esther Price candy has passed through your hands.

Although the business got its start in 1926, Esther Price’s roots as a candy maker go back to a 7th grade Home Economics class. After partnering with her classmate to make fudge the first time, Esther kept her share to give to her mother, but decided instead to eat that share and make more when she got home. A love affair with candy was born.

Esther started making candy for income while she worked at Rike’s, selling candy to her coworkers to supplement her income. After leaving the job to stay at home with a growing family, Esther started making candy to help make ends meet while her husband Ralph worked at the National Biscuit Company.

Soon Esther’s business grew beyond the employees of Rike’s. Esther spent her days with her children, selling candy to neighbors and friends as well. After being out all day selling, Esther baked into the late hours of night, hours after her children went to bed.

EstherPrice

Word spread about the candy, and people showed up at their home to order more and more candy. Business was expanding, and their jammed-packed schedule left them to invent alternate ways of delivering products to their customers, including leaving candy in a bucket by the door, and coming home to money in its place. Storage became valuable, and empty space in the house and a building in the backyard were quickly filled.

Despite the rationing of chocolates during WWII slowing production, Esther continued to grow strong, making candy to ship overseas. By 1950, Esther had made enough money to buy a house at 1709 Wayne Avenue in Dayton. Over the course of the next several years, Esther expanded by buying adjacent homes and lots, slowly building the location into the size it is today. The business was self-sustaining, the profits funding its expansion since banks were wary of a woman running her own business.

Around the same time, Esther Price started mailing candy as well, giving family and friends outside of Dayton a taste of the hand dipped candies. Today, orders come in from all over the US. Most of the candies are still prepared by hand before they are placed into the now iconic gold box with the hand tied red ribbon

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