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65 Years of Chocolate Excellence

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Wilbur and Mary Jane Srnka opened Wilmar Candies in the fall of 1956. They fashioned the name Wilmar by combining the first syllable from each of their first names: Wil & Mar.

Wilbur worked for a number of local candy establishments before deciding to strike out on his own. He yearned to open his own candy business so that he would have the freedom to experiment with new ideas. He also did not want to be told to “skimp” on what he considered necessary ingredients. The necessary ingredients included fresh cream and butter, fresh fruit and nuts, and the highest quality chocolate that he could purchase.

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The Srnkas owned Wilmar Candies from 1956-1984. In the spring of 1984 Wilmar Candies was purchased by the Garvey family. The transfer of the business included a one year apprenticeship. During this period the recipes and techniques were learned and passed on, and three inspirational lessons were clearly articulated; always use the highest quality of ingredients, treat the customers respectfully, and realize that when you are in business “Every year,” according to Wilbur, “is different.”

The Garvey family continued the solid traditions started by the Srnka family, using only the highest quality ingredients combined with skills passed on generationally. In 1990, the company name was changed to Wilmar Chocolates, reflecting what was most loved about Wilmar. With the foundational skills imparted by the Srnkas, new recipes were successfully added to the traditional chocolate lineup. Wilmar now makes over 60 chocolate products throughout the year and is home to the Mix It Up! Chocolate Bar station.  A free sample is offered every day to in-store customers, allowing them to find new favorites, and to continue building Wilmar’s reputation “one bite at a time.”

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