Fowler’s Chocolates: It’s candy, after all
Years in business: 101
Number of locations: 7
Specialty item: Truffaloes
Best-selling item: Sponge candy
Company motto: “Quite possibly the best chocolate you’ve ever tasted.”
In an era when food fads are as fleeting as clothing trends, there remains a Buffalo chocolate company focused on keeping traditional favorites thriving. A young entrepreneur, Joseph A. Fowler, foundedÂ Fowlerâ€™s Chocolates in 1910, after traveling to Buffalo in 1901 to attend the Pan American Exposition, where he made and sold chocolates. The warm response to his products inspired him to pursue candy making as a career. In 1993, Buffalo residents and father/son duo, Randy and Ted Marks, purchased the company and continued the legacy.
â€œFowlerâ€™s is all about chocolate,â€ says Ted Marks, owner of Fowlerâ€™s. â€œFrom traditional buttercreams to truffles to salted caramels and French mint melt-aways, theyâ€™re all chocolate.â€
Largely considered a Western New York specialty (though similar products are made under other names elsewhere), sponge candy is the companyâ€™s best-selling product year-round. Fowlerâ€™s recipe features a thin layer of chocolate coating a dense and airy nugget, which almost instantly melts in your mouth. The centerâ€™s molasses flavor is sweet and satisfying. Fowlerâ€™s offers sponge candy in milk, dark, and orange chocolate.
The companyâ€™s Buffalo-themed line is playful and full of hometown pride. It includes Buffaloreosâ€”chocolate covered Oreo cookies emblazoned with a chocolate buffalo on topâ€”pizza-and-wing-shaped chocolates in pizza-box style packaging, buffalo head nickels, â€œSweet Taste of Buffaloâ€ candy bars, and buffalo mold chocolates. Every store has a Buffalo section showcasing these edible novelties.
Above all, buffalo-shaped truffles dubbed Truffaloes set Fowlerâ€™s apart. The milk chocolate variety is filled with a hazelnut truffle filling and the dark chocolate variety has a raspberry truffle center. To ensure thereâ€™s an appropriate vehicle to please all palettes, Truffaloes are even transformed into Truffalo bars, featuring a creamy truffle center surrounded by rich milk chocolate. Local artist Michael Morgulis designed the signature pink, red, and silver Truffalo candy bar labels.
Fowlerâ€™s aim is to make and sell the best candy possible, and have fun doing it, Marks says. â€œIt is candy, after all. Every day is a holiday. I love every day.â€
For chocolate enthusiasts and sporadic shoppers alike, Fowlerâ€™s has a â€œchocolate lovers card,â€ essentially a free customer loyalty card providing discounts on various items. The promotions change seasonally and correspond with holidays.
â€œWe go really far out of our way to make sure our retail associates are well trained and pleasant so that the people coming into the store realize theyâ€™re in a candy store,â€ Marks says. â€œTheyâ€™re there because they want to have a good experience. When you walk into a chocolate store, it smells like chocolate. Youâ€™re supposed to say, â€˜This is great. Letâ€™s enjoy ourselves.â€™ And we try to make sure that atmosphere pervades.
â€œI will confess to eating a little chocolate every day,â€ continues Marks. â€œSome days more than others.â€
One of the companyâ€™s taglines may be the closest thing they have to a company motto: â€œQuite possibly the best chocolate youâ€™ve ever tasted.â€ After over 100 years in business, Fowlerâ€™s surely has many customers who agree.