DUNMORE — Remembering the man who was a driving force behind one of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s best known and best tasting companies.
Elmer Hawk was a POW in World War II who returned to Lackawanna County and created a multimillion dollar business from the chocolates his mother Gertrude used to make in the family kitchen.
The Hawk family is remembering the man who created a candy empire.
It’s not his name on that box of Gertrude Hawk chocolate, but the Hawk family said Elmer Hawk was really the brains behind turning a small family operation into a nationwide brand.
“My grandmother founded the business, and her name is on every box of chocolate we make. But the real entrepreneur, the one who took my grandmother’s hobby, it was a hobby really, and made it into a business, was my father, ” said son David Hawk who is now the company’s chairman.
Elmer hawk died Friday at the age of 89.
It was his mother Gertrude who started making chocolates in her home back in the 1930′s.
When Elmer returned from World War II, he decided to turn her talent into something much bigger.
Elmer’s son, Dave Hawk took over the company more than 20 years ago.
Dave recalls how, back in 1984, as a 33-year-old, he floated the idea of a new product to his father.
A product that would require some very expensive equipment to manufacture. A product that would eventually be called a Smidgen.
“He said, ‘We should do this. Do you think we can make it work? I said yes and he said let’s do it,’” recalled Hawk.
Nearly 30 years later, Smidgens are Gertrude Hawk’s iconic candy creation with more than 40 varieties.
A lasting tribute to the legacy of Elmer Hawk.
“He was a bigger than life kind of guy, and i will certainly miss him,” said Hawk.
Today, Gertrude Hawk chocolates is a $90 million a year business, headquartered not far from Gertrude’s original kitchen in Dunmore.