Gorant Candies was founded in 1949 by two brothers, Sam and Charles Gorant, in Youngstown, Ohio, based on their dreams of creating a line of fine chocolates.
When Gorant Candies started candy making over a half century ago, some then said that the Gorant brothers’ idea for specialty self-serve candy would never make it.
Sugar mints becomes
Gorant’s first candy
The first candies made by the Gorant brothers were sugar mints of various flavors and pastel colors. The brothers made them in their basement and sold them door-to-door. They would then go into downtown Youngstown and sell them to Strouss’ and McKelvey’s department stores. McKelvey’s would later become Higbee’s, which helped to introduce the candies to the Cleveland area. In time, Charles Gorant traveled throughout Ohio selling their sugar mints.
Building on the success of their sugar mints, the two brothers expanded into the chocolate business. A gentleman, who to this day who remains anonymous, sold them the chocolate recipe along with all of the equipment to make the chocolates.
As the years passed, the popularity of Gorant Candies grew. They opened additional stores in areas surrounding Youngstown. In addition to their selection of quality chocolates and confections, the Gorant Candies/Yum Yum Tree stores offered their customers a selection of distinctive gifts and greeting cards.
Sam and Charles Gorant decided to reinvest in their success and designed a candy manufacturing plant within a few miles of the original store and factory. Built on a seven and one half acre site on the outskirts of Youngstown, it opened in late fall of 1977.
Gorant insures quality with continued handmade production
Unlike many of the candy manufacturers in the marketplace today where automation has replaced the homemade product, Gorant candy makers still make candy by hand every day, which makes their product truly homemade. Large copper pots are still used to stir the ingredients. Ingredients are still poured onto tables and pieces cut by hand. Sam and Charles Gorant’s philosophy was, “If the work is done by hand you can catch the imperfections and ensure the quality of all the chocolates before they are packed.”
Gorant changes ownership
In 1982, Sam Gorant passed away. Four years later, Charles Gorant sold the Boardman-based company. Since then, Charles has also passed away.
In the early 2000’s, Gorant’s products were available in more than 500 corporate-owned American Greetings retail stores. They were known as Carlton Cards and Yum Yum Tree. Gorant also supplied more than 200 additional wholesale accounts nationwide. In 2009, Gorant was purchased by Gorant Chocolatier LLC., managed by Joe Miller, who remains the sole owner.
Gorant’s current capabilities
All of our manufactured chocolates are produced at the candy plant, which is located at 8301 Market Street in Boardman, Ohio. We purchase our chocolate from cocoa refiners that acquire most of their cocoa beans free trade from the Ivory Coast of Africa. The candy kitchen and manufacturing plant is capable of producing more than ten million pounds of chocolates per year.
Nearly 100 employees are employed during our peak time, which is September through April. Our associates manufacture a variety of chocolate products, including our family assortments, individual deli pieces, chocolate molds, fudge, chocolate covered pretzels, flow wrapped chocolates, and many, many more. We use only the very best flavorings and ingredients to make our gourmet chocolates. In fact, we produce over 400 unique chocolate items for both everyday and seasonal occasions.
Our administrative staff is very dedicated, enthusiastic and ready to support all of our customers. Our brands include Gorant Chocolatier, Yum Yum Chocolates, and Sweet Sentiments. We provide customer service to our corporate-owned retail store, licensed stores, wholesale accounts, fundraising groups, private label manufacturing, individual corporate business, mail order catalog, and Internet shopping.
In addition the company has expanded into contract private-label manufacturing. It has also added panned chocolate products to their production capabilities, as well as increasing their existing chocolate bar and chocolate enrobing production.
In January of 2015 the Gorant plant in Boardman became SQF certified in response for increased safety requirements in the food industry, which opens additional opportunities to expand the market for Gorant products.
Gorant Chocolatier’s continues to be committed to the finest quality ingredients. They still use traditional recipes, while producing superior products and maintaining customer loyalty for more than 65 years.