Beloved Winans Chocolates + Coffees Expansion Contributes to Community Revitalization
Published: Mon May 23 2022
Candy and coffee are two of the greatest joys in life. They're delicious and comforting, and when they're made with care, they stand above the rest. For Winans Chocolates + Coffees, a Dayton Region-based company, care is the key ingredient to its recipe for delicious products and almost a century of success.
And customers know it. Winans' most effective marketing has been word-of-mouth and has built an excellent reputation. As Winans found better ways to deliver its products, demand grew, and Winans opened more stores. With plans to keep adding stores, Winans needed increased production capacity and a more significant number of workers trained in the "Winans way." But Winans didn't want to leave its Piqua community, where the candy and coffee business has been a staple for generations.
A Growing Community Staple
Founded by Max and Dick Reiser, Winans is a family business with a rich history. Winans has officially been in the candy business since 1961 but has been a baking and confectionery business since the early 1900s. The company makes its candies the same way they always have— with the same recipes and quality ingredients—no cutting corners. However, warmer months bring problems like humidity, which negatively impacts consistent candy quality. As a result, Winans would only make candy during cooler months for years.
Winans became an early participant in the specialty coffee movement 25 years ago to keep a constant flow of income. Economically, this move allowed Winans to maintain a profit during slow candy production months. The Winans coffee business has developed into an award-winning fair-trade certified experience to keep a constant flow of income. Economically, this move allowed Winans to maintain a profit during slow candy production months. The Winans coffee business development into an award-winning fair-trade certified experience.
Winans moved into its current downtown Piqua location in 2015, repurposing an old newspaper production facility. With rising online orders and a growing number of stores, the company added many new machines quickly. Winans soon realized its production facility was too crowded.
Luckily, an old automotive repair shop across the street closed and was put up for sale. Winans saw a chance to add space while keeping its current facility. However, the shop needed heavy revitalization to be usable and tailored to the company's needs. Winans turned to the city of Piqua for help. The municipality then connected Winans to the Dayton Development Coalition and JobsOhio for assistance.
Revitalizing a New Space to Revitalize a Community
Many communities in Ohio have underutilized sites and buildings that could be buzzing again after some fixing up. To Winans, quality coffee and candy are essential, and so is taking care of the people who have supported it over the years.
"I grew up here," said Wilson Reiser, Winans CEO and Max's oldest grandson, "This community has supported our business and allowed us to be successful for over 60 years now. We want to do our part and to revitalize this part of Ohio and make it a better place for businesses and people."
Through revitalization, Winans could turn an old building into something worth admiring again, thus boosting community pride.
"One of the inhibitive factors for a company of our small size of expanding and being able to meet the demand is that it requires large capital investments," said Reiser. "This grant will help us get over the hump to be able to make that investment to continue growing and improving the area around our business."
Reiser said the renovation would allow Winans to increase their coffee production to meet growing demand and enable their chocolate operation to expand into the current coffee area. The project's ultimate goal is to increase chocolate and coffee production to facilitate the growth of more retail locations throughout Ohio.
It's a comforting feeling when you're making such a large investment with a big risk to know that you have people that want to see it succeed. We've had support from important stakeholders, making the process smooth. It has been easier than expected to work with all of the organizations involved.