We like featuring companies that have stood the test of time. This guest post by Courtney Denning, Education and Media Manager at Winans Chocolates + Coffees, a family-owned coffee and confectionary company in Piqua, Ohio will show you how the company evolved and continues to thrive.
Winans Chocolates + Coffees is a 56-year-old confectionary company in Piqua, Ohio. Max Winans and his older brother, Dick, founded the candy business in October 1961. Thirty years later, Max sold the business to his daughter and son-in-law, Laurie and Joe Reiser.
In that time, Winans has gone through many changes, but the dedication to fresh ingredients has always remained. In the 24 years, the Reisers have owned Winans, the candy store has transitioned into a chocolate and coffee cafe with 18 locations. Since 1995, Winans has been serving coffee and in 2003 they started roasting their own beans. Even as things change, the candy recipes and formulas used today are original to Max and Dick Winans. They are even cooked in the same copper kettles.
The Winans location has also changed. Before 2015, candy, coffee, and gift baskets were all in separate locations. In 2015 Winans moved into a renovated building formerly occupied by the Piqua Daily Call in downtown Piqua. The building — the “Winans Hub” — houses the candy factory, coffee roastery, and warehouse. It is also the home of the home office, gift basket department, and flagship store.
Like the recipes, the building itself has undergone few changes. Winans uses the loading dock and freight elevator for chocolate and coffee shipments. Many former PDC offices are now either Winans offices or storage for chocolates.
The main alteration made to the building was putting in a new wall separating the cafe from the factory. Several aesthetic upgrades and updates were also made. This new wall features viewing windows for customers to watch factory operations. While sipping their Winans coffee or latte, customers can view the chocolate enrobers and cooling tables. Caramels, peanut butter delight, and other sweet centers are spread onto the cooling tables. It is also where brittles are poured from the copper kettles before being hand pulled and stretched.
Guests also have the chance to see things from the other side of the window. “Behind the Scenes” factory tours are available every Thursday at 1 pm. The tour starts in the Winans Hometown Store, in front of the viewing windows. Participants learn Winans family and company history before proceeding into the factory.
In the factory, tour guests get a closer look at the cooling tables and chocolate enrobers. Every day is different. Some days a caramel or melt away center may be poured onto a cooling table or the depositor may be running. The depositor makes many Winans candies, from Mint Jewels and Bourbon Cherries to Wurtles (Winans turtles). The enrobers, which cover Winans’ candy centers in chocolate, may be working on Butter Creams, Peanut Butter Delights, or many other chocolates.
The tour includes a visit to The Wheel Room. This room houses the candy wheel, a Ferris-wheel like machine used to package gift boxes. The tour concludes with a discussion on how chocolate and coffee are grown and harvested in the Tasting Room. And, of course, candy samples are enjoyed throughout the tour.
Guests must pre-register for the weekly tour which costs five dollars. Guests may upgrade their tour experience to Deluxe as well (ten dollars total). The Deluxe upgrade includes samples of Winans’ coffee and four more candy pieces. The Deluxe option is also the tour offered to bus tours which would like to visit the Winans factory.
Two new additions are coming soon to Winans factory tours: a history tour and an up close look at the Winans roastery.
Starting this fall, there will be a history tour; this tour goes more in depth into Winans family and business history as well as local history. Winans roasts approximately 2,000 pounds of coffee each week. Winans has recently purchased a Loring Roaster; tours will often include a stop in the roastery once the roaster is set up and running. Guests will be able to view the roaster up close!
All Winans tours require pre-registration. Customers may call the Winans office at 937-773-1981 to register. Registration may also be taken via email by contacting tour manager, Courtney, at [email protected] More information on tours is available on the Winans website.