Claeys Candy was founded in 1919 in a garage by Jerome C. Claeys, grandfather of the current president, Gregg Claeys. The original location was a small building on Blaine Ave. As sales increased, larger buildings were required. The current plant on S. Taylor is the 4th plant that Claeys Candy has built. The original name of the company was J. C. Claeys Candy. The first item manufactured was "Etabar", a caramel nut bar covered with icing and selling for five cents. They make many flavors of hard candy including anise, lemon, horehound, and cinnamon. They are well known for their Christmas special called "Chocolate Charlie" which consists of marshmallow and peanuts covered with chocolate. This was originally called "Charlie Chaplin". (South Bend Tribune, St. Joseph County Public Library - Local and Family History Services - Clipping File - Business History page 20, year 1965)
Claeys is the third-generation owner of the business that his grandfather, Jerome Claeys, began 100 years ago out of two garages on North Blaine Avenue. Today it has blossomed into one of the leading candy suppliers in the nation.
It wasn’t an effortless transition. Different candies, including almond clusters, Eta bars and Puff Balls, have come and gone. The company transitioned from hand labor to machine work in the 1970s to keep up with demand. Claeys is also constantly challenged to stay creative with old-fashioned candy, creating new flavors when he can. The company is always kept on its toes during the high-volume peanut brittle and Chocolate Charlie production season that begins in the fall. (South Bend Tribune, South Bend staple Claeys Candy to celebrate its sweet centennial, year 2019)