Made in the Midwest: Costas' Candies and Restaurant

Posted at: 02/12/2014 7:17 AM
Updated at: 02/12/2014 7:43 AM

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- With Valentine's Day on Friday, a local candy maker is busy filling orders.

Costas' Candies and Restaurant opened in Owatonna more than 90 years ago. People still go there to get their sugar fix.

Between hard-working hands are the sounds of sweet labor.

There's chocolate mixing and trays of caramels.

Could you love just one of their creations? Grant Schultz does and has since he was a kid.

"If I could talk my parents into it I'd get the milk chocolate turtles," said Schultz.

Now he's making his favorite as owner. At 8:10 a.m., he and a co-worker are cutting, rolling and dipping 2,500 lemon butter cremes into a pot of tempting dark chocolate. It will take them hours.

When you first walk into Costas' it looks like any other restaurant but in the back is where the action happens. Behind a set of doors, there's 95 years of candy making tradition still going on.

The shop opened in 1919. Then called George's Candy Kitchen. A name change happened at some point and its been known as Costas' ever since. When grant bought the business a few years ago, had no idea how to make candy, but knew the store sign needed to say lit.

"People everyday they thank us for being here," said Schultz.

"It's kind of a nice place to gather," said John Sauer of Owatonna, MN.

If you're wondering how does this small-town shop stay open when giants like Nestle and Hershey's are in every store?

"We just do our own thing," said Schultz.

And that's the way he likes it.

If the candy wrappers don't catch your attention, maybe the 95 years of handmade tradition will.

"People seem to like it," said Schultz.

Advertising is done word of mouth. Keeping the tradition, orders are received by mail and phone.