Holiday candy is just dandy Customers flock to Bomboy's shop

December 13, 1992|By Frank Lynch | Frank Lynch,Staff Writer

Smiling faces, bright eyes, cheerful laughter and friendly conversation easily made Bomboy's candy shop the happiest place in Havre de Grace -- perhaps in all of Harford County -- yesterday.

From 7-year-old Michael Ciufo to retired railroader Ralph Neff, all customers who entered the tiny shop at Market and Girard Streets had one thing on their minds -- candy, and lots of it.

Fifteen minutes before the doors opened at 10 a.m. the line was eight deep. A raw, cold wind was gusting off the upper Chesapeake at the mouth of the Susquehanna River and light rain was falling.

L Bomboy's has been in the candy-making business for 15 years.

Like other retail outlets, the holiday season is the busiest time of year. The owners, Barry and Jean Bomboy, said that business increases 10-fold at Christmas.

"Beginning right after Thanksgiving our workday is expanded to 16 hours" from eight, said Mrs. Bomboy. "Our work force increases to 13 from six, including some temporary help."

The candy shop operates like a bakery.

"Once we are out of a certain product -- say chocolate-covered raisins -- then customers have to place orders and return later to pick it up," Mr. Bomboy said. "We try to keep ahead of the demand, but at holiday time it's nearly impossible."

Last week, Bomboy's shipped about 300 boxes to places as far away as Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico.

"It'll be hectic until Christmas," said Mrs. Bomboy.

The Bomboy formula for making candy is not original.

"We got the recipe from my aunt and uncle, Dolores and George Jagielky," said Mrs. Bomboy. "They've been in the candy business for over 40 years. They operated a store in Philadelphia for 20 years."

Judging by customer response, the recipes are proven winners.

"I had to get here early because I'm a little behind in placing my annual Christmas order," said Stan Clark, a 49-year-old Baltimore trucking company owner who lives in Bel Air. "I've made it a habit to send [Bomboy's] chocolates to all my customers, and I usually have it done by now."

An hour and a half later he left the shop having spent more than $600. "This is the easiest gift I have to buy," he said. "Everyone loves this candy, so I really don't mind spending the money."

He carried much of the order to his car and said the rest would be shipped.

Nick Goulakos, another early riser, said the pound and a half of fudge and pound box of assorted chocolates were a birthday gift to his girlfriend.

Asked if he thought she would like the gift, he answered, "If she doesn't, I know I will." The native of Manchester, N.H., who lives in Aberdeen, said he would return in a few days to "stock up for Christmas."

Barbara Parrett of Havre de Grace was loaded down with 9 pounds of assorted chocolates and 3 pounds of dietetic candy.

"None of this is for me," she said, explaining that she was picking up an order for Jessie Rogers of Colora. "Miss Jessie is 92-years-old and will be giving all this away as presents."

A customer who should know something about food quality is Wallace Singleton, 42, a chef, who works at the Donald Brown Conference Center in Cecil County. He maintains there is no finer chocolate in the region.

"I've been a customer for at least 10 years," he declared. "I just don't buy at Christmas or Easter. I'm in here about every two months."

Of the 100 varieties of candies the shop offers, the most popular are the

butter creams, turtles, cordial cherries and mints, according to the Bomboys.

"I love the mints," said Ann Gregory, a fifth-grade teacher at Meadowvale Elementary School, as she left the shop carrying two boxes of Havre de Mints, a name coined by Mrs. Bomboy.

Music teacher Joe Ciufo, whose son Michael couldn't wait to unwrap an "eye popper" (an old-fashioned sour ball), bought several boxes of amaretto cordials to give as gifts.

Perhaps the jolliest customer was Diane Dixon, president of Dixie Construction and a Street resident.

"I'm not being timed am I?" she asked entering the shop. "I plan on spending a lot of time in here today."

Good to her word, 30 minutes passed before she checked out with 6 pounds of mouth-watering delights, which she said represented about half of her Christmas order.

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