History: Abbott’s Candies was founded in 1890 by W.C. Abbott in Hagerstown. He started his career as a traveling salesman selling candies for the Dilling Candy Co. His first business was a restaurant in Hagerstown that served fried chicken, steak and pastries. While running the restaurant, he experimented with creating candy. His butterscotch and chocolate confections gained him a reputation as a candymaker, and eventually he gave up the restaurant business to open a candy production shop.
A candy factory: Abbott opened his first candy production facility on South Plum Street but would later move it to a remodeled garage behind his home on Southmarket Street, where it would remain until 1985. It was at that location that his caramel candy became a customer favorite. Today, the company is in a pink and white building at 48 Walnut St.
A family tradition: The company was operated by members of the Abbott family until 2012, when it was sold to Jay and Lynn Noel. They also opened an Indianapolis retail location at 3744 E. 82nd St. Their son, Jason Noel, runs the company, and his brother, who lives in Texas, handles the marketing.
Fun facts: The company is considered Indiana’s oldest candy company. Jason Noel told Inside INdiana Business that it produces 16,000 pounds of caramel a year and that the product is shipped around the world. “Our caramels have been sent to aircraft carriers in the middle of the ocean,” he said. “We have sent to Switzerland, Japan, Australia, Canada, all over the place.”
—Compiled by Greg Weaver