Editor's note:?This is part of a periodic series focusing on notable places in Trumbull County that no longer exist.
By GARY S. ANGELO
Tribune Chronicle correspondent
This photo from the March 1969 grand opening of Kozy Korner Candies on Elm Road in Warren shows store owners Eleanor Fairbanks, Mildred Basile and Chuck O’Neil of Chuck’s Signs.
Photos special to the Tribune Chronicle / Eleanor Fairbanks
During the mid-1950s, Mildred Basile and Eleanor Fairbanks founded a popular candy business storefront that would soon find its popular signature chocolates loved by many and sold at hospital gift shops and drugstores.
Basile and Fairbanks first started their business on 212 E. Market St. in Warren. Fairbanks said that their store was comprised of corners filled with candy, jewelry, gifts and cards. She recalls a friend coming into their store and saying 'your store has cute cozy corners,' hence the Kozy Korners Candies name.
Mildred Basile was Kozy Korners' candy maker and Fairbanks was the manager. Basile's signature chocolates made Kozy Korners Candies a renowned place of colorful confection.
prices in 1966-67
10 oz. rabbit98 cents
20 oz. rabbit$1.98
40 oz. rabbit$3.98
12 oz. basket filled with assorted chocolates$1.79
1/2 egg (4 lbs.)$6.98
"Mildred and I were the original founders," Fairbanks said. "We were located at 212 E. Market St. in 1954, 1955. My brother, Edward Fairbanks, was the assignment commissioner at the Court House, and he encouraged us to start a little shop downtown. In 1969, we moved to the 2719 Elm Road location. We were one of the first stores to move up on Elm Road. Mildred was the original candy maker, and I managed the sales and trained the workers."
Fairbanks said that Kozy Korners Candies sold candies, nuts, gift items and greeting cards.
"The idea that you made the candy yourself and that people loved your candy was rewarding," she said. "Mildred used pure ingredients, and it was high quality chocolate. People would say, 'what do you put in your chocolate that makes it so good?' We would say 'it's what we don't put in it.'"
Fairbanks said that Kozy Korner Candies was also popular for their homemade fudge, which was 99 cents a pound.
Dolores Capan of Howland said she worked at Kozy Korner Candies part time and worked at both the East Market Street and Elm Street locations. Capan said she helped with the hand-dipping.
"It was delicious candy and everyone at Kozy Korner Candies was so friendly," she said. "Even when you were dead tired, it was a fun place to work. My job involved hand-dipping the candies in the chocolates, and everything at Kozy Korners Candies was hand-dipped. You took the raisins, nuts, or caramels and you hand-dipped them into the chocolate."
Capan recalls how famous Basile's homemade fudge was and that she made a variety of flavors. She said that Basile made white fudge, chocolate fudge and peanut butter fudge.
"I started out learning how to hand-dip fudge bars. I remember people would come into Kozy Korner on their lunch breaks and eat our fudge bars. Mildred sold mostly chocolate covered items and sold fudge by the pound," Capan said.
"We also made wafers and fancy candies for weddings," Fairbanks said. "We made homemade chocolates and we made milk chocolate and dark chocolate. We also made pink bunnies for Easter time and cherry cordials. We had a delicious peppermint patty that was a delicious recipe with a green center."
Fairbanks said that Kozy Korner Candies made chocolates for every holiday and occasion.
"We sold heart-shaped boxes of chocolate for Valentine's Day and made something for every holiday," she said. "Mildred learned how to make basic chocolates, and she developed her own recipe. When you make your own peppermint patty or maple cream, you have your recipe for the centers. We also sold nuts and we used pure vanilla. We sold top quality and that's how our business grew," Fairbanks said.
Capan said that they hand-dipped Easter crosses and Easter bunnies. She said that Kozy Korner Candies got new molds for chocolate novelty items as the years went on.
"I remember towards the end, we were making novelties like chocolate cars," Capan said. "The chocolate was bought in slabs and big hunks of chocolate were placed in a vat and then you heated the chocolate to a certain temperature. Then you would put the chocolate on a marble slab to cool it back down to a certain temperature. You kept working the chocolate until the temperature was right and then you poured it into a mold."
"We had a good reputation," Fairbanks said. "We sold our chocolates to area drugstores, and hospital gift shops. If any organization had a fundraiser, we sold chocolates at those fundraisers. We were retail and a wholesale business. We also shipped our candy all over the country for customers. We were very fortunate that the business turned out successful. In the beginning, we thought we would just give it a try and in this business you have to work hard."
Capan said that the rewarding part about working at Kozy Korner Candies was seeing the finished product that she helped to make.
"Seeing that people were anxious to buy the chocolate was rewarding," Capan said. "It was a nice, fun place to work and fun people to work for."
"When we first opened the candy store, there were no shopping centers downtown," Fairbanks said. "Everyone who worked downtown had no other place to shop at the time, so they would come over to Kozy Korner Candies. I remember people would go shopping downtown and they would get all dressed up to go shopping."
Tom Gilmour, of Gilmour's Carpet Gallery in Warren, has fond memories of Kozy Korner Candies' downtown Warren location. He said that before World War II, his father, Winfield Gilmour, started an appliance business, Gilmour's Appliances and TV, which was located on East Market Street.
"I worked at my father's store during the late 1950s, and I remember that we used to take turns and go to Kozy Korner Candies to buy their candy," Gilmour said. "When you had the urge for chocolate, you went to Kozy Korner Candies, and when you went there, it was worth the trip. They gave you a nice selection with chocolates, chocolate eggs and chocolate covered fruits. The dark chocolate was my favorite, the darker, the better. The almonds were good and Kozy Korner Candies was hard to beat."
Fairbanks and Basile sold the business in 1982, but the business continued until 1995. Kozy Korner Candies' homemade chocolates were made famous across Trumbull County. Fairbanks said that after the business was sold, she became a junior high math teacher at East Junior High, where she worked for Warren City Schools for 20 years.
Though the shop is gone, memories of Kozy Korner Candies' treats remain.
"Once in a while, I would make Mildred's old fudge recipe," Capan said. "People still say today that Kozy Korner Candies was the best chocolate."