I often wish I lived 120 years ago so I could go visit all the candy stores back then and see the artistry and equipment. Today so few candy shops still make their own candy but there are a few. One of them is Schimpff’s Confectionery in Jeffersonville, IN. If you want to candies being handmade and an amazing collection of candy history, Schimpff’s is a must visit. I have become friends with the current owners, Warren and Jill Schimpff and they have been absolutely amazing people to get to know.
G.A. Schimpff’s Confectionery began in its present location on April 11, 1891. Started by Gus Schimpff Sr. and Jr., the business has survived wars, floods, depressions, and recessions through four generations.
The Schimpff family has been making candy in Jeffersonville since 1871 and in Louisville since the 1850's. Magdalene Schimpff, a widow, brought five of her eight children from Bavaria to settle in Louisville, and her sons went into the confectionery business.
In the late 1860s, Gus (son of Magdalena) began working at C.G. Block & Co., a wholesale confectionery business, which, in 1871, became the Wurach & Bergreen Co. In 1877, Wurach sold out his interest in the company to employee, Gus Schimpff who thus became a proud part-owner. That company closed in 1889, and Gus began to work for one of the largest candy factories in Louisville, the Frank A. Menne Co .
(Gustav Jr. & wife Louisa photo to left)
In 1891, Charles Schimpff wrote to his brother Gus, in Louisville, that he thought the City of Jeffersonville needed a confectionery to replace the successful one that he had opened years before and decided to close. He suggested that Gus move to Indiana and start a candy store of his own.
Gus, wife, Catherine Huber Schimpff, and son, Gus Jr., took his advice, and, in 1891, rented a storefront at 347 Spring Street. The rent was $25.00 per month. A tin shop was located in the rear and the family lived upstairs. The two generations of family ran the business jointly until Gus Sr. died in 1918, leaving Gus Jr. and wife Louisa Weber Schimpff the primary owners. Their children, Wilbert (Wig), Christine, Weber, Catherine, and Charles helped with the business.
In the 1940s, Catherine, Wig, and his son, Sonny, became the working partners. Wig was the candy maker and Catherine the manager and lunchroom cook.
(Sonny and Catherine photo to left)
After Wig's death in 1952, Sonny took over as the candy maker and for forty years he and Aunt Catherine built a reputation known widely throughout Southern Indiana. Sonny's death in 1988 and Catherine's in 1989 forced another change in the ownership of Schimpff's Confectionery.
In 1990, Warren Schimpff, one of Weber's sons, and his wife, Jill Wagner Schimpff, bought the candy business from Aunt Catherine's estate in order to be able to celebrate the centennial anniversary and to maintain the Schimpff family's candy legacy.
Under their leadership, the business expanded in 2001, the 110th anniversary of the business, into the building next door (351 Spring St), where a candy demonstration area was constructed along with a fascinating candy museum housing thousands of pieces of American candy memorabilia. Because of these new additions, Schimpff’s has become a major tourist attraction in the Kentuckiana Area.