SHARON, Pa. – In 1949, Paul “Pete” Daffin opened the first Daffin’s Candies store in downtown Sharon, Pa., expanding the candy store that his father opened in 1903.
Daffin opened his store after he returned from military service during World War II.
“Mr. Daffin’s philosophy was that he always wanted everyone to feel like they were a kid in the candy store,“ says Connie Leon, retail manager who joined Daffin’s in 1966. “We always try to have fun things in the store for people to see.”
Pete’s father, George Daffin, opened the family’s first candy store in Woodfield, Ohio.
“He [Pete] started in Sharon once he came home from World War II,” Leon says. “He learned how to make candy from his uncle and then he learned how to make it in his garage. They bought a home in downtown Sharon and from there they added on and took up a whole city block at one point.”
The original site in Sharon lasted until 1975. It was around that time that Daffin came up with the idea of the “Chocolate Kingdom.”
“Mr. Daffin’s had an idea back in the ’70s to make a kingdom totally made of chocolate,” Leon says. “We had a decorator make the train and villages. That was all decorated and formed out of solid chocolate.”
The original pieces remain in the existing Sharon store at 496 E. State St., Leon says, with only a piece added later in the 1980s.
Daffin’s also operates stores in Greenville and Franklin, Pa., as well as a store in Niles Its factory and factory shop is in Farrell, Pa.
“We have a lot of local people coming [to our stores] and a steady customer base that comes back from out of town every year for the holidays,” Leon says. “It’s a family tradition to bring [children here], see the Chocolate Kingdom and get their goodies.”
In the last few years, a second Chocolate Kingdom was added to the front of the store.
Daffin’s is very involved with raising funds for local schools, organizations and nonprofits, the retail manager says. “We really try to give back to the community by letting the groups, organizations and nonprofits sell candy bars to earn money,” Leon says. “That is a big part of the business too.”