Sconza Candy lovers converge on Oakdale plant

10/19/2013 7:02 PM

10/19/2013 10:28 PM

Sconza Candy Co. offered some sweet deals Saturday, and customers carted them away by the case.

About 500 people poured into the plant loading dock in the first hour of Sconza’s annual sale of slightly imperfect confections. Most of the customers said they were shopping for Christmas presents and stocking up on favorites.

Counting 5-pound bags of chocolate-covered almonds on a loaded cart, Gail Altieri of Oakdale said she stocks up for gift-giving every year. “Some of them might have a little crack in them, but who cares? I don’t care and neither do my receivers,” she said with a chuckle.

It was the first sale for Denise Jaynes of Waterford, who arrived at 6:30 a.m. to be at the front of the 200-person line when the sale started at 9 a.m. “Can you believe this?!” she shouted, as a thundering line of carts surged into the aisles as the sale started.

Piling dozens of bags in an ever-growing mound near the cash-register lines, Nancy Granis of Escalon said it was her first time at the sale. She planned on spending $600 to $700 on treats for her firm’s large holiday gifts list.

“We fill coffee cups for customers and do a lot of Christmas baskets,” Granis said.

She’s only buying from producers nearby – “We decided to keep things local this year,” she said.

Bobbie Sibley of Oakdale just wanted to keep things purple. Diving into a massive bin of jordan almonds, Sibley said she’d only found one 5-pound bag so far of the purely purple orbs. “I’m doing a baby shower,” she explained, as she pushed aside other colors.

Most of the candy was packed in 5-pound packs for $5 to $10. On the lower end were baking pieces, a rainbow of small and odd-shaped candies, and dark chocolate pomegranate candies. Red and green jordan almonds were $10, but the holiday shimmer variety cost more. Boxes of chocolate-covered cherries and espresso beans went for $1.

Besides the gold standards, there were some trendy offerings and lesser-knowns among the lines of pallets. Bright yellow limoncello almonds sat just down the line from mellow eggnog almonds. Hot chili gummies called Scorchers sold for $5 a case. For the younger crowd, Cherry Extra Sour Farts were $4 for a 3-pound bag.

Standing beside an overflowing cart in a pay line that wound out and around the parking bay, Stephanie Stewart-Shockley of Oakdale said the sale let her stock up for gift-giving. “Treats for all the loved ones,” she said with a wide smile. “It’s a fantastic, fantastic opportunity to buy.”

It was also a fantastic opportunity to sell, noted Janet Sconza as she handed a free bag of candy to departing customers. “It’s a good way for a manufacturer to shed excess inventory and candy that’s not perfect,” said Sconza, granddaughter of the company founder.

The company gives seconds to food banks, as well, she said, with requests coming in from all over the state around the holidays. “Everybody wants some chocolate in their basket,” she said.

But this is a way to be a good neighbor in Oakdale, she said, and the event gets more popular every year. “People love to shop this. They love a bargain and they love candy,” Sconza said.

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