Shippensburg is known for its locally-run businesses, and one such local business, located on King Street, can be easily overlooked in the midst of row homes, churches, and restaurants and bars.
The Lollipop Shop, located on East King Street, has been the place in Shippensburg to satisfy a sweet tooth for 27 years and is owned by local couple Ruth and Ted Wiser.
“It actually started in my kitchen as a hobby, making lollipops and different types of candy for small get-togethers and teachers’ gifts,” Ruth Wiser said.
After presenting her homemade candies at several craft shows, she and Ted opened the Lollipop Shop on October 31, 1986.
From there, Wiser expanded her business and created recognition for the shop by taking her products into different wholesale and retail shops.
“At that time, it was mostly hand-painted lollipops and the old-fashioned clear-toy candy,” she said.
The Lollipop Shop is well-known for creating unique seasonal and holiday treats and goods. Some of these candies include hand-painted lollipops, pumpkin fudge and fall-decorated chocolate pretzels.
“We do a lot of Thanksgiving lollipops also, Christmas lollipops, the toy candy and the brittles for the holiday time,” Wiser said, “We do chocolates year-round, but we get into different types of chocolates for different holidays.”
During Valentine’s Day, the store becomes known for its chocolate-dipped strawberries.
The Wisers have a very unique way of making their products, most notably their famous clear-toy candy.
“You have to mix your products together, you cook it to 300 degrees, put your colorings and stuff in, pour it in molds, and that’s the process for that.”
As far as placing orders for customers goes, the Lollipop Shop goes through “contract orders” in which people call ahead with their orders and pick them up at a later date or time. The Wisers have received orders for as much as 2,000 pieces of toy candy at one time. These large orders then get distributed throughout the United States.
What is really interesting about the Lollipop Shop, however, is the feeling of nostalgia the Wisers place into their products. Every product is homemade; unlike some modern candy shops today, the Wisers do not use machines to create and process their candies. They do not even have a computer; every order they receive is marked down on their calendar the day it needs to be delivered. The shop does not even have a Facebook or Twitter page.
“We have a friend and some of our older grandchildren who will come in and help bag and box, so we can get it out the door,” Wiser said.
Ruth Wiser also works with handicapped high school students, who help seal the lollipops, count out, label, and pack the boxes for the lollipops.
“That teaches them job training when they go out into the actual job force,” she said.
The shop also provides different types of shapes for the lollipops for people of varying religions. For example, during the winter holidays, the shop will provide Santa-shaped lollipops for Christians and other appropriate shapes for non-Christians or who do not celebrate Christmas.
Even with no 21st-century type of publicity, the Lollipop Shop still gets plenty of business on just one thing: word of mouth.
“We have a lady who comes from North Carolina every year to get toys for her family,” Wiser said, “and I have another person that drives from Scranton down to get my chocolates and clear toy also. A lot of it is because it’s old-fashioned and brings back nostalgia.”
In the 1990s, a newscast crew from Harrisburg stopped in and was so impressed with the shop that they did a feature story on it.
“That was terrific. That gave me a lot of publicity,” Wiser said.
The Wiser’s candies have also been showcased at the National Candy Convention, as well as being featured on a Philadelphia TV show, “National Candy Shop.”
It may not be a candy shop that all students are familiar with, but the Lollipop Shop is truly a unique candy shop because of its nostalgic atmosphere and the craftsmanship and creativity the owners put into their homemade candies.