LOFT’S CANDIES, Downtown

by Kevin Walsh

When an awning sign was removed at 86-1/2 Nassau Street between Fulton and John Streets, a neon sign for Loft’s Candies was revealed.

The first Loft’s candy store was opened by British immigrant William Loft in 1860, with his son George Loft gradually opening more branches in NYC in the 1890s. Production was centered in Long Island City, expanding to ten office buildings and factories at Vernon Boulevard and 40th Avenue. Loft’s acquired  Pepsi in 1931 — you read that right, they acquired Pepsi, forming PepsiCo.

 

lofts2

Most businesses have a shelf life, as it were, and Loft’s was fading by the 1980s, with only 40 locations, and all had closed by the mid-1990s, including the one I remember, at the busy corner of 5th Avenue and 86th Street in Bay Ridge.

Photos: Vincent Losinno

11/26/16

 

70 comments

Marilyn September 7, 2017 - 10:13 pm

I just saw this today and took the same photo! So nostalgic. I posted it on FB. Thx for the history, too. Love it.

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Ronnie October 10, 2017 - 8:44 pm

There butter crunch was the the best! Covered with chocolate and nuts….no one did it better.

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Anonymous November 18, 2017 - 3:26 pm

Thank you for the memories they were delicious mmm good

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Caryn November 18, 2017 - 3:27 pm

Thank you for the memories they were delicious mmm good

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Mary Strolis February 6, 2018 - 7:04 pm

I lived the Butter Crunch, but, my favorite were the Parlays!!

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Cathy Benevento November 8, 2018 - 9:05 pm

Parlays were the ultimate in candy. I’m surprised another company, such as Russell Stover, has not tried to duplicate

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Joe Mastropolo November 8, 2019 - 11:42 pm

Loft’s was pretty good, but Krum’s on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx was the absolute best.

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Sheila December 4, 2017 - 8:59 pm

My grandfather worked at Loft’s. They had a mocha cream cake I loved. Have not found any to match it’s taste.

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Vicki December 9, 2017 - 11:12 am

My Mom loved Lofts candy….her favorite was Butter crunch . It was the best……I think the store was either in Jamaica Long Island or Lynbrook

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Jacqueline Winslow January 10, 2018 - 9:58 pm

My father worked as a porter at Lofts in Getty Square Yonkers during the depression. He always spoke well of the job and community there.

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John Batteiger January 31, 2018 - 5:30 pm

There was a Loft’s Candy at 41 Park Row, the former New York Times building, at the turn of the last century. It was located next door to Lipton’s Cafe (formerly Times’ Cafe), one of the most popular newspaper hangouts of the era before Prohibition closed it. O. Henry, Don Marquis and other celebrated journalists made it their home away from home.

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Stacey Loft February 14, 2018 - 12:15 am

Im the great great Granddaughter of the owner of Loft Candy. I have never been able to taste any since it does not exist anymore, but reading these comments makes it worth it knowing other people got to enjoy it. I am trying to find out more about my past and the Loft Candy Company so if anyone knows anything that will help me please let me know.

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Lynn H. July 7, 2018 - 6:01 pm

Hello, I’m afraid I don’t have any information to share with you, but a good place to start would be your own family. Perhaps check around for old records, suppliers’ notes, etc. Maybe someone in your family tree can share information with you. What WE all want to know is- WHERE are the recipe books ? If you could find those, you could start making the candy again. Start with a small boutique business- maybe online only ( like an ETSY format).
Best wishes to you ! My late husband was a native New Yorker, and raved about Loft’s candies !

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Anonymous August 12, 2018 - 2:57 pm

Hi,

My father was voted The Sweetest Taxi man. He won 100.oo and a 5 pound box of Loft Candy. He helped a woman who had difficulties physically into and out of his cab.I have all the newspaper clippings to prove it. I was trying to find out any more information in Lofts Candy History on this but none as yet.

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Anonymous November 25, 2018 - 3:59 pm

We had a Lofts Candy Shop at Journal Square in Jersey City in the 1950’s – the butter crunch was to die for. Wish I could taste it again today!

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Margaret E McKitty December 3, 2018 - 8:14 pm

My grandmother’s brother married a Loft Dadxs oldest cousin was Julia. My father’s grandmother also was Julia always assumed she was named after both of her grandmother’s.
I remember advertising in the stores windows in the 1950s saying “From the kitchens of Julia Loft” . Dad’s sister used to tell me “Julia Loft started making candies during the Civil War”
The Lofts were donors trustees to Mercy College on Long Island. Mrs Loft not sure if she was a daughter or married to a Loft died in the early 1960s. Dad’s cousin Mae Farrell was an heir. My parents and my father’s older brother and wife went to Mrs Loft’s wake in her mansion in Rockville Center. She left her home to her Japanese house boy named Happy. I remember my father saying ,”Well if he wasnt happy before he certainly is now What a lovely thing Mrs Loft did.”
Aunt Mae as we called her had an older sister Julia who I mentioned ..she lived out on the island kforget her marroed name) and a younger sister Rose Farrell Gabarow who died in Sept 1961. She had 2 boys George and Jimmy You are probably related to them if you are a Loft.
Hope this helps.

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Maria Rueda February 8, 2019 - 4:08 pm

Hi. My family moved to North Babylon, LI
from Mt. Vernon, NY 1964. We found a Loft Candy store And fell in love with the famous Parlay candy bar. Would love recipe to recreate a nostalgic, incredible candy.
Have you located any recipes in an Archive you’d be willing to share. All of Lofts chocolate candies were supperb.

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Anonymous April 20, 2019 - 5:39 pm

To Stacey Loft,

My father was a cab driver in the 60’s. He picked up a person who was handicapped when other cab drivers wouldn’t. He was awarded Sweetest Taximan and received 100.00 and a 5 pound box of Loft Candy. I have the article from the taxi newspaper.

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Janice Pikul October 12, 2019 - 8:41 pm

Omggggg parlay bars. Just googled it. Where can they be found. We loved them!

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Anonymous September 15, 2019 - 12:30 pm

Stacey, Didnt your family leave their archives somewhere that you can find, and include all the candy recipes? I am always looking for the Parlays that my mom loved in Brooklyn 1940’s. Seems they would sell well by looks of these posts. None of the 4 links below work and would not be like the original anyway, would they.

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MAXINE December 26, 2019 - 10:37 am

OH MY GOD WAS THE CANDY DELICIOUS,YUMMY, YUMMY IA M 73 AND REMEMBER
IT SO WELL…………

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Anonymous May 28, 2020 - 8:45 am

,My grandfather and grandmother Salvador and Lucia Napolitano, worked for Loft’s back in the 20s through the 70s, before they moved to Florida. The posts here are right as to how these candies and cakes were wonderful, the best! There was not a party or occasion that they were not a part of my upbringing and for that I thank your family for the delicious memories.
My grandparents have since passed as they would be well over 100, I’m 55. I don’t know if the names help, but I wanted to share just in case they could. Bless you Stacey

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Anonymous October 12, 2020 - 10:07 pm

julia loft were my great grandparents . my grandmother was there only daughter . george had a son that was killed in a car accident . i did not know he had any children . my name is margaret nolan .

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Anonymous June 21, 2021 - 5:42 pm

Me too, I have a bunch of the containers from my grandfather peter, he recently gave my brother a new Easter container

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Anonymous February 23, 2018 - 9:58 am

Was the building originally a theater before it was Loft’s? Possibly a bank?

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susan wydra August 2, 2019 - 2:39 pm

I believe Loft’s probably had their standards at that period and it is identical to the New Haven CT store.
Very narrow building and tall.. I might also mention the store was very deep.

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Anonymous February 23, 2018 - 10:00 am

Was the building originally a theater before it was Loft’s? Possibly a bank?

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Anonymous March 30, 2018 - 2:37 pm

They had the best chocolate covered marshmallow eggs at Easter time and have never found any that come close. Often wish I had that recipe.

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susan wydra August 2, 2019 - 2:41 pm

Yes they sure did..and my mom bought our Easter candy there every year..we did not get candy there often during the year but
we sure had plenty at Easter….I felt that later the Stover’s very large marshmallow chocolate covered eggs were wonderful..but
over the years they got smaller and the chocolate less buttery. Well that’s most of the world I guess now.

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Clark Vitulli May 26, 2018 - 2:53 pm

Great stories, history & comments!
I believe my grandfather, Joseph Stallone, owned one or more Loft candy stores in Brooklyn when they came over from Italy in the early 1900’s. thanks for sharing.

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Kc Coyne February 19, 2021 - 7:21 pm

Im 54 I grew up in Guttenberg NJ. My Mom bought all our Valentine and Easter Candy from Lofts. It was located on Bergenlin Ave North Bergen NJ. I have a pair of Kissing Dolls they use
to sell, my mom bought a set each for my sister and I for Valentine’s Day back when I was about 7. They are the cutes a
young girl and boy leaning forward toward each other for a
smooch.

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Anonymous June 5, 2018 - 2:06 pm

I loved Loft Parlay Bars. So sad they went out of business.

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Beverly Nette February 19, 2019 - 6:44 pm

My Aunt Anna worked for Loft Candy and when my grandmother would come to visit us in Connecticut, Aunt Anna would give my grandmother a big box of candy to bring with her. At the bottom of the box were Parlay Bars. My family would fight over them. What happy times !

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Joy April 10, 2019 - 10:04 am

Me too

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Waxman Herschel June 27, 2018 - 8:47 pm

I’m 78. My dad and mom also loved the parlays. Would love to buy them.

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Patricia Stevens July 9, 2018 - 12:53 pm

Oh what wonderful memories! I worked after school and Saturdays (and holidays) at the Loft’s Candy Store on Newark Ave. downtown Jersey City from 1963-1965. What “sweet” memories! To this day I dream of the parlay and buttercrunch bars as well as the chocolate covered crackers! No one made them better!

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Laura Harwood August 12, 2018 - 3:02 pm

My father was nominated sweetest Taxi Man Award by Lofts. He helped a woman with disabilities in and out of his cab. He received a $100.00 and a 5 pound box of Loft’s Candy plus a gift certificate to a restauarant. I have all the clippings on this and was hoping to find more in Loft’s History. He had t otake a day off and go to the Taxi Board to receive this.

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Beth August 15, 2018 - 11:40 am

My grandmother worked at one of the Lofts Candy stores as a young girl. I assume it was the Brooklyn shop as she lived in Brooklyn. I have a photo of her standing next to Mr. Loft and another older woman. There is no date on the photo but you can see the Lofts Logo in the background of the picture. It looks like a glass window frame behind them. I would place the picture as approximately 1910.

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Anonymous August 24, 2018 - 9:19 am

I enjoyed reading all the comments about Loft’s Candy. The marshmallow eggs covered in chocolate were so delicious. My aunt always ought me a box every Easter. My mom frequently treated us with the butter crunch and parlays. They were the best ever. Hard to believe that these gems have slipped through our hands no longer to be enjoyed. There is nothing to compare today.

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SHARON HILT October 5, 2018 - 4:42 pm

I have a Loft candy box that my Grandma kept buttons in. The box is falling apart. The lid is a blue floral pattern and has a gold seal on the one corner ( made by Loft, LOFT, something at the bottom of the seal but I can’t make it out.) and the inside of the lid has a gold seal with Milk & Sweet Chocolate.

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Billy G October 19, 2018 - 6:36 am

.
The chocolate covered crackers were so good!

Billy G

.

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Edythe M Bell October 24, 2018 - 7:47 pm

My grandmother always had the Parley candy bars whenever we went to her house. She knew they were my favorite . Fifty years later I’m still thinking about them. Yummy and wrapped in the gold foil. Nice memories! If they’re still made somewhere, please let me know.

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Diana Catalanotto January 8, 2019 - 11:06 pm

My mother loved butter crunch. I’d save my pennies and buy her a box every holiday. I was about 8 yrs. old

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Kevin O. January 27, 2019 - 8:49 am

I agree with you Billy (from above). I am an originally from Brooklyn (Flatbush) now living in Kansas City. I remember my Mom bringing home a white rectangular box filled with the Chocolate covered Crackers you speak of. It would have been in the 1960’s. Just wondering what the name was for them. She worked at Banker’s Trust in NYC and purchased them somewhere close to her building. I received them each Valentine’s Day. While on the subject of sweet decadence, I also remember my Mom bringing home a Mint Chocolate Cake. A Dark Chocolate Cake with a ribbon of Mint across the top then covered with chocolate fudge. I thought it was purchased at Ebinger’s but no information out there on the name. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks!

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John McCarthy April 21, 2019 - 5:55 pm

There was a Lofts on 5th avenue between 74th and 75th in Bay Ridge Brooklyn. I loved Lofts especially at Easter. The chocolate rabbits were excellent and I would always eat the ears first as they were solid chocolate. The had a large chocolate egg (about 12 inches) at Easter called the Lily egg—my aunt always gave me one of these. They were milk chocolate and were decorated with dark chocolate swiggles and had a few sugar candy lily flowers on them. They were the best days. I think this store closed about 1970. Ebinger’s was only a few blocks away and had the best ever brownies. John

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Rita the parlay eater May 2, 2019 - 5:25 pm

I grew up in Parkchester, in the Bronx, NY, in the 40s-1980. We spent time in Loft’s, near Woolworths and across from Macy’s, quite often, buying PARLAYS, my favorite, and my mother’s. We shopped there for birthdays, Christmas and especially Easter. We all had baskets filled with bunnies, crosses eggs, the works.. When I reached 14yrs old, I told my mother,”no more baskets. I only want my own box of PARLAYS.” Needless to say, it was gone before the day was over. Our father liked the chocolate-covered peanuts and they didn’t last long either. Loft’s was to die for.

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susan wydra August 2, 2019 - 2:37 pm

Well I was a little girl in 1950 when I remember my first sighting of the Loft Candy Store in downtown New Haven CT.
The second floor navy tile and window (displayed with holiday settings or seasonal) is still there along with the neon
sign..in fact when I first looked at this photo I thought it was New Haven CT’s store. Later in the 60’s Loft’s opened
at the new Ct. Post Mall in Milford CT. For a little girl the whole store was enchanting and seeing those decorative
window displays was magical. Easter I felt was their best of the best.

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Armando October 11, 2019 - 10:46 am

Just wanted to add that Nassau Street back in the late 1800’s was known as jewelry row. In the 1920’s, The United Happiness Candy Store opened up at 90 Nassau street. It made sense, as giving ladies some jewelry and candy/box of chocolates went hand in hand. Sometime soon afterward, Loft’s came into the picture next door.

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PAB October 30, 2019 - 4:01 pm

Found parlays at Berkeleys in New Jersey

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Elissa Kessler February 6, 2020 - 9:28 pm

Where did you find the parleys and do they have an email address?

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Sally Christensen, R.Ph. November 1, 2019 - 3:48 pm

My father owned a pharmacy in Racine, Wisconsin. He had a huge refrigerated area for
Loft candy. Butter crunch was the best. My dad got huge10# boxes of all varieties that we gave away free to customers as samples. My dad did a great business with Loft Candy as no one in the area had the franchise. I miss those days in independent pharmacies.

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Joanne Rainone November 8, 2019 - 9:07 pm

Been looking and searching for their Parlays! They were my fathers favorite! I was so surprised that no other candy company didn’t buy the rights to their recipe! Their butter crunch was delicious also. Such good memories! Lofts was a big name when I was young!

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JoAnn M. January 20, 2020 - 1:06 am

I won the Loft’s “Color the Hunny Bunny” contest in the 1960s. I think I was 4 or 5 at the time. I still have the letter Loft’s sent (addressed to me, how exciting!) informing me I was a winner. One of the prizes was “The Singing Nun” album. Really nice way to get kids involved in an Easter chocolate candy promotion.

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Jaye Hedrick February 9, 2020 - 12:21 pm

You can purchase Parlays | Schwartz Candies
https://schwartzcandies.com/send-chocolates/

Delicious candy. Not quite the parlays I remember from Lofts but very, very good. Will buy again & again. Parlays
Very expensive. I have bought them for myself and to send as gifts. Much smaller than Loft’s Parlay’s but very good.

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Bob Gardner March 1, 2020 - 7:30 am

My Grandfather was hired in the Mid 1960’s as a security guard to the last heiress of the lofts candy company. He lived in Southold Long Island, and was her guard up until the time she passed.

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Don April 10, 2020 - 6:39 pm

I have an old (empty) box that Loft candy came in. Would it have any value to anyone?
Email me with offer. siufan2@msn.com

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Anonymous April 22, 2020 - 5:59 pm

My parents bought me a very large sugar candy diorama EASTER egg when I was 4. I saved it all these years and it fell apart 2
2 years ago. I’m 75 so I’d had it for 69 years. My children and grandchildren enjoyed it every EASTER. I still have the original
Box.

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Eleanor May 11, 2020 - 6:38 pm

Lofts Candy – My Mother was an employee
Of Lofts Candy on Vernon Blvd. Long Island
City -New York – from 1948 – 1953.
Because of their entrepreneurship & my
Family’s willingness to work & not take assistance
We were able to better our lives. My greatest
Lesson was watching my parents work –
Thank You Lofts were ever you are and
God Bless America

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Delight Blackman Schwartz May 29, 2020 - 10:23 pm

Thank you so much for posting about Lofts – my father worked there in his late teens and early 20s which was about 1920, at one of the store branches – I’ll post the address when I research his notes on the place, he lived those years on W 42nd between 9th and 10th, then moved to Irvington NJ, so there must have been a branch around one of those addresses somewhere. He always spoke so fondly about the quality of the candies there – from there he went to work for Grunings Ice Cream. I had always assumed that the Lofts store was a single entity Mom & Pop owned.Wow was I wrong! Thanks again for the information and picture – now I have an idea of what the place was like.You made my day!

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Frank Eppedio June 9, 2020 - 3:43 pm

My Mom was a sales clerk for the Loft’s store in Richmond Hill, Queens, NY in the mid to late fifties. She first worked at the store on Liberty Avenue around 112 St or so and then later at the one at Liberty Ave and Lefferts Blvd.
We used to have alot of candy around the house. As most people mention, the butter crunch and parlays were very good. I remember in the hot summer, me and my friends would visit my Mom at work because it was one of the few air conditioned places around. Because of all the chocolate, they had to keep it very cool.

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Mark Wurzel August 12, 2020 - 3:39 pm

My grandfather, Maurice Wurzel, was the President of Loft’s in the late 1930’s until around 1947 and my father, Leonard Wurzel, was the President from 1957 until 1964. They were professional managers and did not own the company. As a kid growing up with Dad running a candy company, it was a fantastic treat to visit the factory in Long Island City once a year. The butter crunch and the Parlay bars were the best!

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SUSAN G. KEEGAN December 12, 2020 - 3:18 pm

Sue Keegan
Dec 12,2020
I was just talking to my son this morning about Loft’s candy and how much I loved their candy and could not remember what the name of my favorite candy was that they made–it was Parlays!
So glad I came across all the wonderful comments that people have written about Loft’s. Myself and my family loved their candy and would enjoy them on all the Holidays. As I got older I would receive my very own box of Parlays for my birthday, We lived at the Jersey Shore so I would think there must have been a Lofts Candy store somewhere around there or if not maybe Newark, NJ–Thanks for all the great memories.

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Spechler Marilyn January 21, 2021 - 12:55 am

I worked for Loft candies when I was 15-16…1950-51 after school,weekend and holidays. Mostly at the store on Broadway between 86-87 streets in Manhattan. Each week we received a photo of how the Window should look. I often redid the window decor. All was boxed chocolates. We were permitted to open a box and eat it in the store. Of course Parlays,crunch and caramels were tops! I also worked in our Subway stores. We felt safe there because They were near the change booth and the transit cops would pop in to have a cigarette since it was not allowed on duty. I was Robbed once working in the RCA bldg store. As young as I was, I often “opened” or closed up which means closing out the register and dealing with money in or out of the safe. I did love the job. Parlays were my mom’s all time favorite!

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Olivia Gabbianelli April 3, 2021 - 5:52 pm

My dad would bring home the chocolate cross with white sugar lily on it at Easter time. Every year. I loved them. My dad and those crosses are a wonderful memory.

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Anonymous April 22, 2021 - 2:54 pm

I wish someone who remembers the ingredients by taste will post just what was in the 3″ Parlay Bar.
Thank you

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MARK ROCKMORE May 18, 2021 - 12:02 pm

Grew up in Far Rockaway, Queens NYC. Do remember the Loft’s store (in the 1950’s) and competitor Barton’s on the main shopping blocks of Central Ave there. Can’t remember when they both closed up but think both were still operating into the 60’s. when I was off at collage. Do remember the cool cases and the chocolate aromas that made your mouth water. But as a child buying decisions were made by mom. I probably liked plain old truffles. Another of the what was, which is now history. Saw TV stock footage of the Lofts neon sign on Nassau St. store front and found out where and then another long delayed visit to this website. All excellent work in covering the what was except in memories or images .

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Emily Davis June 12, 2021 - 8:25 pm

Now Loft’s Candy’s History!

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Allan Berlin June 13, 2021 - 1:45 pm

It might be interesting to note that as of earlier this year (the last time I was in the area), the Nassau St store has still not been rented, although there were a few “nibbles”. The Loft’s sign is still visable.

(I occasionally eat a quick bite in the Wendy’s on the other side of Nassau St and always admire the old Loft’s sign).

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Michael June 21, 2021 - 6:12 am

I think it was Lofts (and maybe also Bartons) Candy that were the first companies in the world to make chocolate gelt (Yiddish for money) as a Chanukah treat in the 1920s. But does anyone know anything more about this – why they started making it, who came up with the idea, or where it was sold/what it looked like? Any information would be great!

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Allan Berlin July 18, 2021 - 9:49 am

According to Wiki the tradition giving money during Hanukkah dates back to 17th Century Poland.

It was Lofts that came up with the idea of making chocolate gelt in the 1920s to supplement or replace the use of real money.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah_gelt

https://reformjudaism.org/learning/answers-jewish-questions/what-story-behind-hanukkah-gelt

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