Sweet on Easter

By Karl Henkel



Like the Super Bowl, Easter always falls on a Sunday.

It’s fitting, especially for candy makers such as Giannios Candy Co. in Struthers, who seem to make their living off spring’s biggest holiday.

“It’s kind of our Super Bowl of the year,” said John Giannios, who along with his brother, Greg, owns the candy shop at 430 Youngstown-Poland Road.

To put it statistically, Easter makes up about 50 percent of Giannios’ business for the entire year. And that’s after other candy-heavy holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Christmas.

This year, the 102-year-old candy maker will create 1.5 million pounds of candy for Easter.

Just about 80,000 of the 1.5 million pounds will come from one product — Giannios’ 1-pound chocolate-covered peanut-butter eggs, the most popular product offered around Easter time.

Easter, which this year falls about a month earlier than its usual date, is already a billion-dollar industry.

Consumers will shell out more than $16 billion this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation.

More than $2.3 billion of that will be spent on candy alone.

Here in the Valley, there are many options for consumers to spend money on candy, including Daffins, Gorant Candies, Lois Candies, Philadelphia Candies and PMG Chocolatier.

Couple those numbers with an unseasonably warm lead-in to Easter and growing consumer confidence, and Giannios expects that tomorrow — when the business will host its annual half-off Easter Day candy sale — could be the best in years.

“This year Easter is kind of early,” Giannios said. “If Easter’s early, it starts off soft, then everyone realizes it’s almost the holiday and they tend to overbuy.”

That’s saying something, considering most candy makers weren’t heavily impacted by the recent recession.

“When things get a little tight, people tend not to buy the big-ticket items,” Giannios said, referring to electronics and automobiles. “But the candy industry is almost recession-proof.”

It helps, too, that candy is isn’t too revolutionary, at least according to Giannios.

“These are the exact same candies my grandfather made 100 years ago,” he said.

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