HAZLETON, Pa. -- The owner of a candy store in Hazleton is calling his business growth bittersweet. After decades of business in downtown Hazleton, the location that started it all is closing its doors.
For 85 years, Victoria's Candies has been an icon on North Laurel Street in Hazleton. The family business has a few locations in Luzerne County but will be officially shutting down the store where it all started on November 16.
"The saddest part about this is that my family has been here in this building, I grew up here, I slept on the sugar bags in the back. I've been hit with a few paddles for things that I should not have been touching in my days, but I grew up here. My whole family heritage is really in this building, and it's hard to leave, but it's for the best for our company and our family," said owner Paul Esposito.
Neighboring businesses said it's sad to say goodbye.
"They've been there forever," Pete Keselicka said. " remember going to school with Paul the owner, and we just hate to see them leave the neighborhood, but we wish them all the best."
"Yes, we're losing Victoria's Candy. My grandmother grew up with them, I grew up with their kids, their grandkids. It's a sad thing, but you know they're moving to bigger and better things," said Frank Hoffman.
The owner tells Newswatch 16 he hopes to move the retail business from downtown Hazleton to his location off of Route 424 on North Conahan Drive after Thanksgiving.
"We've expanded immensely over the last five or six years. We sell candy all over the country now. We supply 75 or 80 other candy stores all over the country, so we needed the extra square footage," Esposito said.
Esposito says the building will be put up for sale after the move. His neighbors hope another family business moves into the sweet location on North Laurel Street.