It was very much a family business with their daughter and her husband and
even their grandchildren helping out. They would help by wiping tables and washing off the
candy counter. Kids from the neighborhood would come in to buy "penny
candy" and would put their fingers on the cases to point out what they
wanted. Other jobs included weighing the candy and put it in paper bags. They sold
lots of different sweets by the pound: chunks of chocolate, all kinds of
nougat, and old fashioned candy, some with nuts or raisins. They also sold
hard candy, drops, peppermints. The horehound drops were very popular. In
the winter they sold candy canes. For Easter, people from several states
would pre-order custom chocolate Easter bunnies hand-decorated by Mr.
Hegeler. He would write names in script with white icing on bunnies, big
chocolate eggs, wagons, or chicks.
The shop also
produced clear toy candy, and had a nice collection of molds. They made
everything from trains to busts of "Teddy" Roosevelt.
The candy was made on the premises in the "workshop" up stairs. There
were several giant pots for making candy, and the molds were all lined up
on shelves and on all the walls. They always prayed for low humidity
"candy making weather" because the candy shop section was not
air-conditioned. There was a huge marble table for making hard candy
canes, ribbon candy and other candies. There was a big hook on the wall
and Herman would put a hunk of molten candy on the hook and pull in like
taffy until it shined. Then he would add flavor like peppermint and red
color to one half, and sometimes green to the other. Then he would twist
it into custom shapes or candy canes, and cut it with a hatchet before it
cooled too much to work with. He wore a white coat like a Dr!.
Knickerbocker's closed in1971 when the state of NJ executed an eminent
domain suit and bought the building and all of the "lower Main St"
buildings. This was done to clear the area and put Route 80 through. As
it turned out, the interstate was routed a different way and the block
became another overgrown littered eyesore in the dying downtown area of
Till the day the state forced the business to close, the blackout curtains
from WWII were still there, and they would pull them down after closing
for privacy to clean up. There were 2 window display areas on either side
of the front door and a canopy over the front entrance that was rolled up
every night. They were open 7 days a week from 9 AM until Midnight until