The Passion Behind The Chocolate

    It began in 1916 when Anthony Zanetos, a Greek immigrant, began experimenting with the art of candy making. His first job was as an apprentice candy maker in a local candy shop in Columbus, Ohio. His sweet-tasting chocolates were so delicious that he opened his own confectionery in 1926. This decision molded the lives of four generations.

    In 1932, Anthony opened the Farmer’s Co-op Dairy Store at the corner of Chicago Avenue and Broad Street in the Franklinton community. This neighborhood is where the first settlements were in Central Ohio. Today it remains a historical area with many of the original homes, school houses, and churches.

    It was Anthony’s life long dream to have a father-son business. When his son, Tom, returned home from service in WWII, he realized that dream. Together they started Anthony’s Confectionery where the Co-op Dairy used to be. The confectionery served ice cream, candies, and had a soda fountain.

    Times were hard in the years following the war. There were shortages of everything, including the ingredients and supplies necessary to make candy. Sugar was rationed and chocolate, cornsyrup, cream, butter, fruits, nuts, and paper supplies were hard to get. Nonetheless, candy was in great demand, so the government made a provision that veterans who were in the candy business could get a 30,000-pound annual allotment. This made Tom a valuable asset, and an instant partner with his father.

    In 1947, Anthony and Tom opened the Crystal Fountain at 1022 W. Broad St. The soda fountain had a light lunch fare where they also sold ice cream and candies. Soon the candy business was growing faster than the soda shop, and the father-son team decided to make candy a full-time trade. Using their first names, they formed the Anthony-Thomas Candy 1952.

    In the first 10 years, the business grew quickly, equipment was added, and the company moved to larger buildings in the area. It was hard getting money to enlarge the business. Borrowing from friends, family, and pooling all resources available, the business moved in 1970 down the street to a larger 20,000-square-foot plant, located at 1160 W. Broad St. This location eventually underwent three large expansions over the years. By the early 1990s, Anthony-Thomas had outgrown its 60,000-square-foot facility and could not expand any further at this location.

    With large orders to fill and not enough space to add new equipment, the company knew it had to move. Ground broke at its current location, 1777 Arlingate Lane, in July 1993, and the company moved in to its new 152,000-square-foot home in 1995. Now on the west side of Columbus, the company has room for growth.

    Anthony-Thomas Candy Co. is the largest family-owned-and-operated candy company in the Midwest. Over 200 people are employed in the factory, office, warehouse, and retail stores. Besides manufacturing candy for its retail outlets, the company produces for its wholesale, fund-raising, and contract-manufacturing divisions. On the average, about 60,000 pounds are produced on two shifts daily with the company planning to expand its retail and wholesale divisions.

    Anthony-Thomas’ success spans 5 generations with an accumulation of over 185 years of experience between the family!