In 1930, William Howard Wertz made the decision to move his family from Nebraska, where the Great Depression had cost him his mercantile job, to the family homestead near Reading Pennsylvania. A chance stop for refreshment in Illinois at a confectionary called the Karmelkorn Shop changed his life. He learned the business was being franchised, and upon his return home, applied for, and was granted a Karmelkorn Shop franchise in downtown Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
In December of 1931 the doors to the Karmelkorn Shop opened for business. Hard work and the community’s love for sweets proved that success was possible, even during this difficult period for American business. As the years passed and the business grew, son William Jr. and son-in- law L. Saylor Zimmerman Jr. joined the business. William Howard Wertz remained at the helm until his passing in 1960. It was at this time that William Jr. bought out his partner and ran the shop with his wife Josephine.
As franchise commitments grew and the store’s customer base increased, William and Josephine made the decision to separate from Karmelkorn to become Wertz Candies Inc. The 1980’s brought more growth with the addition of our Brickerville shop, run by third generation, Richard Wertz. Next to join the family business was Jean Wertz who served as candy coater and resident chocolate artist. In 1986, William Jr. retired and sold the business to his four children, William, Jean, Richard, and Charles. Oldest son, William took over cooking duties, learning the recipes from his father. Richard serves as store front clerk of our Lebanon shop and makes most of our Caramel corn.
Charles Wellington worked part time and was a silent partner officially serving as Treasurer. Today the store is owned by William, Richard and Charles. Throughout our shop’s history many things have changed, but our commitment to quality confections and excellent service remain strong. We hope that people continue to enjoy our candies for years to come and that we can continue to serve our long-time customers and new friends.