According to the “History of Huyler’s Candy Company” by Jennifer Walkowski excerpted from the “Huyler’s Candy Company Building (in Buffalo NY) Nomination for Listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places:
Huyler’s chocolate and candy company was once the largest and most prominent chocolate maker in the United States. Headquartered in New York City, the Huyler’s company operated a large chain of Huyler’s branded stores across the country in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and their high-quality chocolate products were a part of daily life, given as holiday gifts, used as special indulgences and as treats for young girls and boys.
It is said that Milton Hershey worked at Huyler’s in the mid 1880’s before moving to Pennsylvania and starting the Hershey Co.
The company was founded by John S. Huyler.
His obituary in the October 1, 1910 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle describes the early days of the business
Mr. Hurley was born in Manhattan in 1846, his father being David Huyler. In 1875 he started the business which proved to be the foundation of his fortune, on Broadway near Eighteenth Street, Manhattan. There it was that he made the announcement of “Huyler’s Taffy. Fresh Every Hour.”
This proved a trademark that was on everyone’s tongue, while the candies were in so many mouths that the business speedily grew to immense proportions, and branches were established all over Manhattan Borough.
In 1881 Mr. Huyler formed a corporation under the name of “John S. Huyler” of which his father, David, was made the president. It is a family corporation. Mr. Huyler’s father dying in 1885, John S. became the president in his stead. There are about sixty Huyler stores all over the country. Nineteen are in Manhattan, four are in Brooklyn, and there are branch stores in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Newark, Atlantic City, Long Branch, Newport and other cities. The factory is in Manhattan.
The growth referred to in the obituary is documented in the New York City Directories.
- The 1876/1877 Directory listed John S. Huyler at his first location at 863 Broadway. His occupation is listed as “candy and old fashioned molasses candy”
- By 1886, the factory and offices had been established at 64 Irving Place and were listed along with what appear to be three Manhattan retail locations; the original store at 863 Broadway as well as 150 Broadway and 17 W. 42nd Street.
- By 1905, two additional Manhattan retail locations were added; 508 Fifth Avenue (pictured below) and 469 Broadway.
- Then four years later in 1909, in addition to the Irving Place factory and offices, the number of Manhattan retail locations had soared to 21 (as opposed to 19 mentioned in the obituary).
Most of the NYC store openings were announced in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The announcements provide some insight into the store decor and products. The following is from the June 14, 1906 issue of the Brookyn Daily Eagle announcing the opening of the store at 81 Nassau Street.
Another Huyler store has opened at 81 Nassau Street, Manhattan, where the well-known Huyler candies and chocolates will be on sale to relieve the rush of their other downtown stores. The new store makes eleven opened by Huyler in greater New York, and the twenty-sixth in the chain of stores operated directly by the Huyler Corporation in various parts of the States and Canada. The store is handsomely appointed, finished in mahogany and with a tasty color scheme carried out on walls, ceiling and decorations; it cannot fail to satisfy those who come in to enjoy their famous fountain drinks, which will be served to perfection. The store will have a soda counter fifty-five feet in length, able to accommodate the crowds that will flock there for their celebrated ice cream soda, phosphates, etc. It is located handier to the Wall Street and jewelers district than any other in their chain.
Another, this one in the May 14, 1908 issue announced a new store in Hudson Terminal (now the World Trade Center PATH Station) with a sales approach aimed at daily commuters. It describes a process that still thrives today in commuter terminals.
The opening of the latest Huyler store today in the Hudson Terminal Building at Cortlandt and Church Streets just west of Broadway is an instance of the up-to-dateness of the big company, which aims to keep its advance line of stores abreast of the shifting lines of demand. For customers in a hurry to catch ferries or elevated trains they will make a special feature of carrying in stock a full supply of freshly packed boxes ready to carry without a moments delay…
John Huyler was a man who apparently appreciated those who worked for him as evidenced by this paragraph that was included in his obituary:
He was in the habit of giving his employees in Manhattan an annual outing, hiring a steamboat for the day. It was also his policy to look after the welfare of old employees, providing them with a home. He purchased ground on the Hudson for that purpose. He was also a generous contributor to Syracuse University, a Methodist institution, of which he was a trustee. He recently made a gift of $20,000 to that institution.
After his death, the business remained in the Huyler family. The 1915 NYC Directory listed Frank DeKlyn Huyler, his oldest son, as president, B. F. DeKlyn, a relative by marriage, as Vice president, and two other sons, David and Coulter as treasurer and secretary respectively. By this time the retail store count had reached 23 Manhattan locations and another 5 in Brooklyn.
In the early 1920’s, Huyler’s began expanding outside of the candy world, opening restaurants. An announcement in the December 13, 1924 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle for a new store in Brooklyn described both the restaurant and the target audience.
Huyler’s are opening a new store at 529 Fulton Street, between Duffield and Gold Streets, Brooklyn, in the heart of the theatre and shopping district. Distinguished in the candy world for 50 successful years, they need no introduction to the Brooklyn public. Huyler’s candy has maintained its superiority for years and has become a standard of excellence today. The soda fountain should be mentioned also for it’s cleanliness and order, its efficient and tasteful service, and its delicious fresh fruit syrups.
The distinctive feature of the new store is a fine restaurant equipped with all the modern conveniences to meet the demands of the busy shopper as well as a more leisure tete-a-tete. You will find there all the refinement and good taste which characterizes all the Huyler’s restaurants.
A men’s grill in early American style will be opened very soon to serve the business man who insists on pleasant surroundings, as well as a well cooked, substantial meal at moderate prices.
A comfortable waiting room has been provided so that there need be no waiting in line during the rush hours.
The many friends and patrons of the Huyler’s store, located for years at 458 Fulton street, will be glad to know that this new store is opening almost directly across the street, and that it will be managed by Miss Godsil, well known and liked by a highly esteemed clientele.
Finally, after 50 years, the family sold the business in 1925. Subsequently owned by several different entities, I don’t find any advertisements for them after the early 1950’s. The original store location was still in business as late as 1944 as evidenced by a June 28 classified ad that used the 863 Broadway address.
The jar I found is a small (4 1/2 inches high), early machine made jar. A 1905 advertisement for Frederick Loeser & Co. listed Huyler jars that contained “assorted fruit balls, lemon balls and horehound sticks.”
It also could have contained powdered chocolate or cocoa which were also Huyler products.