When Elena Macris’ grandfather, John, and his brothers Jim, Louie and Steve Macris emigrated from Greece to western Pennsylvania’s Shenago Valley, they eventually realized their dream by purchasing a small candy store in 1919. They chose to name their business Philadelphia Candies because in their native Greek language, the name means “candies made with brotherly love.”
Today, Philadelphia Candies still makes all of its centers from scratch using the same techniques and cooking in small batches as its founders did in 1919. It sources the finest ingredients available and roasts all of its nuts in-house.
Elena’s father, Spyros, currently owns and operates Philadelphia Candies. Her mother ran the company’s two retail stores for 30 years, and now her brother, John, just recently joined the business.
After working for Philadelphia Candies as well, Elena found herself moving to Harrisburg, Pa. Nonetheless, she did not want to leave the family business. After researching the opportunities in the area, she opened her own shop, Macris Chocolates, in Lemoyne, Pa., October 2013.
“The shop is 2,000 sq. ft., with a 30-ft. showcase and chocolate demonstration area where we make bark, custom moulds, and dip fresh fruit,” she says. “Our customers can choose their favorite assortments from our showcase that offers more than 100 varieties of chocolates, all freshly made and shipped from our factory in western Pennsylvania.”
Macris Chocolates also specializes in creating custom gift baskets, boxed chocolates, hostess gifts and a wide variety of corporate gift solutions.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one kind of candy, what would it be?
The Brandy Cherries our plant manager Nick Hartis used to make for us every Christmas.
What’s the last cool thing you saw online?
Unusual chocolate combinations....different pieces created with mushrooms, olives, tomatoes and even turnips.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Definitely a chocolatier as my grandfather was, and my father is today. But I’ve always had a passion for design and architecture too.
What issues concern you most about the confectionery industry and why?
Trying to communicate to our customers the benefits of incorporating chocolate into a healthy, well-balanced diet. Confections should have a place in everyone’s life and enjoyed in moderation. It’s a perfect treat that makes everyone’s day a little bit happier.
What’s the last book you read?
Why We Buy by Paco Underhill. I’ve read that a few times now. And I look through Chocolates and Confections by Peter Greweling quite a bit too.
What is your pet peeve?
If given the chance to choose anyone, whom would you like to collaborate with?
Valentino Garavani — his designs were works of art, with an incredible amount of hand craftsmanship and time involved in each piece.
What excites you most about your job?
With owning a new small business, everyday is an adventure. I have the opportunity to meet wonderful people that turn into regular customers and even good friends.