John is the third-generation, small-business owner of Philadelphia Candies, a manufacturer and retailer of specialty chocolates. Celebrating its 100th year of business, Philadelphia Candies has been satisfying everyone's sweet tooth since 1919, and today makes approximately one hundred varieties of milk and dark chocolates from scratch. Located in Western Pennsylvania, one of the most economically depressed areas in the U.S., Philadelphia Candies has provided numerous jobs within the area and has helped to strengthen the local and national economy. Implementing ecommerce revitalized Philadelphia Candies, allowing the retailer to share its sweet treats around the clock with both new domestic and international customers.
Q: Where does the inspiration for your business come from?
A: My greatest inspiration is family, especially my mother, Georgia. She’s dedicated 26 years to our small business, introducing many of our best selling chocolates and refining our retail concept. Being able to continue in her footsteps and grow our brand as the next generation is my daily motivation. Currently, she lectures on business at the local Penn State University and advises entrepreneurs on new startups, including minority and women-owned ventures.
Q: What’s a fun fact about yourself/your business?
A: Often, I’m asked if I will become tired of chocolate. The honest answer is absolutely not! Our staff loves the work we do. We make approximately one hundred varieties of milk and dark chocolates from scratch, locally, here in Pennsylvania. Each day brings a new experience.
Q: How has selling on eBay contributed to your success?
A: eBay is the best platform for brands to merchandise their products. Customers LOVE interacting with our brand on eBay, whether it’s exploring new collections in our eBay Store or rediscovering an old favorite. eBay is a unique partner because it democratizes online commerce and provides the closest experience to traditional retail. Customers are able to receive individualized service directly from the seller/brand owner.
Q: What is your proudest business moment on eBay?
A: We receive so many heartfelt messages on a daily basis that it’s hard to narrow down. The best moments are family members choosing to give our brand to a loved one, a distant friend sending a birthday gift, or a thank you note from a new customer who enjoyed our chocolates for the first time. Recently, we received a note from a buyer who purchased a Fruit & Nut Egg for her 90-year-old father, having been unable to locate our product for years. The egg brought a smile to her father’s face with its personal meaning and connection. Our mission is to make people happy with chocolate, and eBay allows us to do that on a large scale.
Q: How has selling in one space supported the other (e.g. selling online supporting your physical store or vice versa)?
A: Growing up in a small town, many of our customers patron our physical store on a seasonal basis when returning home to visit with family and friends. Our staff often hears how customers wish we had a larger footprint, whether it’s on a college campus or in the big city. Selling on eBay and the Always Open on eBay initiative allow our brand to bridge the gap so our chocolates can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. The Global Shipping Program is an incredible resource as a seller to increase visibility with buyers around the world.
Q: Why do you believe a customer should buy from you?
A: Consumers trust Philadelphia Candies for delicious, high quality chocolates at an attractive value. We are celebrating our 100th year in business (1919 – 2019) based on consumer loyalty. All of our chocolates are made in house, from scratch, using original recipes and old fashioned techniques. We only use the highest grade of pure milk chocolate and dark chocolate made from premium cocoa beans. Once a customer experiences our product, he/she is able to differentiate between the various choices available and insist on the Philadelphia brand by name.