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1977197819791980198119821983198419851986198719881989

FHS GRAD'S HOBBY BECOMES BUSINESS
January 26, 1984


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PIX #1 - The Home Shop, North Springfield, Pa.

PIX #2 - Peggy Gray Holliday

PIX #3 - William and Beatrice Holliday

PIX #4 - Jonathan and Melinda Holliday

One day, 15 years after Marguerite Gray Holliday had graduated from Fostoria High School and was residing with her husband in the Cleveland area, she wat- ched a candy-making demonstration.

"What a fascinating hobby," she thought.

Later, arming herself with a thermometer, kettle, spoon and recipe book, she began making candy in her kitchen. Friends soon learned of her new pastime and started buying the variety of sweet-meats she had learned to make.

Her "fascinating hobby" soon became a business. That was 62 years ago...and today the business is still a family affair carried on by the third generation of the Hollidays.

The trade name for their candy came about quite naturally too. Marguerite's shortened name was Peggy, her single name Gray...so the trademark became "Peggy Gray" for the varieties of candy which eventually developed out of the kitchen hobby.

CANDY MADE IN ERIE, PA., AREA

Later on the Hollidays decided to move from the Cleveland area and selected Pennsylvania, where the Hollidays had family roots, as the area where the business was further developed.

North Springfield, Pa., is the location of the The Home Shop, just a few miles off of I-90, north on Rt. 215. That shop is located on a corner of the ori- ginaly Holliday farm, purchased in 1796. The shop is housed in a building which served as a General Store when the railroad was constructed in that area during the Civil War. All of the candy is made in The Home Shop.

Their Colony Shop is in Erie, Pa., north on I-79 from 90. At that location, the complete line of candy is sold, along with a line of party and gift items.

FAMILY TRADITION CONTINUES

There came a time when Marguerite Holliday decided it was time to take a back seat and let William Holliday, her son, and his wife Beatrice, take over ac- tive operation of the business. Today, Jonathan Holliday, grandson, and wife Melinda are also active in the business and it won't be long until fourth gen- eration Hollidays will be involved.

The Hollidays have some benchmarks for their success...only the best ingredi- ents. Their "Aristocrat of Chocolates" line, all boxed, contain honey, coco- nut, almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanut butter, cream, butter, pineapple, cherries, vanilla, maple, peppermint, orange, coffee and other flavorings. Chocolates are identified by a swirl of the chocolate covering on top of each piece in the form of a letter...like "V" for vanilla, "O" for orange, etc.

Anyone who has purchased or received Peggy Gray Chocolates as gifts will agree that the choice ingredients make them "tops"...the author, as well as other Fostorians.

The Peggy Gray line also includes traditional specialties...thin mints, fudge in the summer, sponge in the center, chocolate rabbits at Easter, candy corn at Halloween, candy canes at Christmas and heart candy boxes at Valentine's Day.

FACTS ABOUT CANDY DEVELOPMENT

Marguerite Holliday also made a hobby of researching some of the ancient his- tory about ingredients used and how candy came about. She discovered that primitive man satisfied his sweet tooth with herbs and honey.

Four-thousand years ago the Egyptians blended fruits, nuts, honey and flour to make confectionary products. Alexander the Great discovered sugar cane grow- ing in India's Ganges Valley, and the "sweet sticks" became popular throughout the Mediterranean area.

She also discovered that the Persian name for sugar was "kandisefid" from which the word "candy" was derived. After the 14th century Venetians learned the art of refining sugar, new candy making techniques evolved.

Today nearly 80 agricultural products are used in making over 2,000 varieties, according to the Holliday literature which is distributed at their stores.

CHOCOLATE USED IN MEXICO IN 1519

Marguerite's research also turned up an interesting item about chocolate. Upon entering the Aztec court of Montezuma in 1519, Cortez was served a golden goblet filled with a drink called "chocolate" which meant "Food of the Gods." The conqueror of Mexico not only took the golden goblet back to Spain with him, but the recipe for its contents. A closely guarded Spanish secret for 100 years, monks eventually disclosed the chocolate formula to other Europe- ans. The first of the famous English Chocolate Houses appeared in 1657.

The Swiss developed solid milk chocolate in 1876. Shortly thereafter, smooth velvety fondant chocolate replaced the former coarse-grained variety. From then on, man's most popular flavor became an important candy ingredient.

Like so many Potluck articles, they often develop as the result of previous ones...and today's is another example. The article about the FHS colors and school publications brought to my attention again the Peggy Gray line of candy by readers who recalled it as I did.

Since last week's article, I learned that in addition to Florence Lonsway, the Peggy Gray line was also sold by Mrs. Jockers in her gift shop quite a few years ago.

Thank you, George Gray, for helping me by providing photos for these articles.

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