Meet Margaret Carlson and Wendy Carver of Hollingworth Candies

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In the mood for something sweet? Make your way to Lockport, IL to find the perfect solution - Hollingworth Candies. 

This candy shop specializes in handcrafting toffees and chocolate candies. Owner and founder, Margaret Carlson began her business at home in 1982. After being a retired registered nurse, she started picking up skills such as sewing to make a little extra money. One day she noticed a toffee recipe placed in the Chicago Tribune from a man who sold his business and moved to Hawaii.

Margaret started cooking the recipes on her kitchen stove. After selling the toffees at craft fairs, she realized she needed a commercial kitchen and chose to open her storefront in Lockport.

In 1993, Margaret’s daughter, Wendy Carver, joined the family business. Although they already had a location in Lockport, there was something special about the Historic Downtown of Lockport that drew them in. In 1999, the business moved to the downtown area.

owner Margaret and Wendy going their Illinois Made award

After being there for 17 years, you can now find them just two miles north on State St. still in Lockport.

“We love to hear the enthusiasm from our customers about our English Toffee and other chocolates. And to create new treats for our customers,” says Wendy.

Margaret had no idea that her business was going to be what it is today. She has her daughter, and now granddaughter to help keep things running smoothly. Her employees are mainly women, who have also been very instrumental in the growth of the business.

When you come to Hollingworth Candies you can expect to be greeted with a smile when you walk in. “We have a friendly atmosphere and who doesn’t like walking into a chocolate shop!” she says.

Hollingworth Candies has caught eyes of many in the community as well as visitors. They were business of the year for Lockport in 2015 and designated an Illinois Maker in the Made In Illinois Program. “As far as everyday interactions, our customers come in happy to be there. They can smell either the toffee, caramel or brittle being made in the copper kettle and smell the chocolate.”

What makes this new location so special is that you can also witness them making the chocolates in the back, while ordering some treat in the front of the store.

Wendy and Margaret shared some of the funny stories they hear while customers drop in. Wendy says, “One customer told us that she wrapped her box of toffee in brown paper, wrote ‘liver’ on it and put it in the freezer!” Others have told her how they would have to hide the candies from their family members when they get home.

If this doesn’t reassure you how delicious their candies are, then I don’t know what will.

During the pandemic, they were still able to push through and sell their treats. “We have built up a large customer base and customers were able to order online for curbside pickup or shipment,” says Wendy. “Even though we are now open for walk-ins, with safety precautions in place, some customers still utilize the curbside pick-up option.”

For the future of Hollingworth Candies, Margaret is thrilled to know the business will be carried on through her daughter and granddaughter. They will continue to concentrate on their specialty, the English Toffee, while maintaining their exceptional customer service.

To learn more about Hollingworth Candies, visit www.heritagecorridorcvb.com/Shopping/Hollingworth-Candies-Inc

chocolate being made inside of Hollingworth Candies  a bag of toffees

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