Factory Tours

Factory Tours USA

Celebrating American Imagination and Industry!

Factory Tours USA

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Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory
154 South Beach Street, Daytona Beach, FL   32114
Map Location           Latitude: 29.210973   Longitude: -81.0183519
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This tour is free

In 1925, two women, Riddell Angell and Cora Phelps, started the company that bears their names. They would spend the summers in the resort town of Mackinac Island, Michigan, where they also had a shop, and the winters here in Daytona Beach. At the start of WWII, they had to close the shop in Michigan.

While I have told this story thousands of times, I?m still amazed every time I think about it. First of all, I doubt that many women in the 20?s were able to start a business. On top of that, these gutsy ladies were making chocolates in Florida before the invention of air conditioning! Somehow, they were able to make the business flourish. Their passion and determination to make quality chocolates started a tradition that has lasted for 80 years.

New Owners, but the Same Passion for Excellence
Neither of these women had any children. So in 1953, when it was time to retire, they sold the business to Ed and Helen Resinger, who had just moved here from Ohio.

The Resingers continued the commitment to quality. They doubled the size of the operation and added items covered in milk chocolate. As the reputation grew, meeting the demand at certain times of the year became a real challenge. By the late seventies, they would have to quit taking orders by the middle of December because they could not keep up. The lack of supply lead to a chance meeting between my dad and Mr. Resinger. One year Dad hadn?t gotten his order in on time and he was desperately pleading his case. After some serious negotiation he was able to get the chocolates he needed and he told Mr. Resinger, ?If you ever want to sell this business, let me know.?

A Boyhood Dream Comes True
The Resingers had no children, so when they decided to retire, they called Dad to see if he was still interested. Dad jumped at the chance ?to own that candy shop on Beach Street.?

Dad was way too busy with his medical practice to get directly involved with the chocolate business, so he enlisted my brother Chuck, our uncle Sonny Mathis and myself. At the time, I was an out of work social worker, and my brother had just finished college. Chuck was a good cook, so he learned how to make chocolates. I concentrated on sales and Sonny helped out with the accounting. Mr. Resinger worked with us for several months to ensure the quality and consistency was maintained. This was a very difficult time for everybody. Mr. Resinger had always been hands-on and had mixed feelings about giving up control. I?ll never forget the first complaint we got. A customer called and said, ?That the chocolate doesn?t taste the same since you changed owners.? The funny thing was that we had yet to make a single batch of candy on our own.

Keeping the Torch of Tradition Aglow
We were very young and inexperienced and I?m sure it showed. From the very beginning, we were mindful of the importance of Angell & Phelps to the community, and we were determined to carry on the tradition. What we lacked in experience, we made up with hard work and a lot of passion that was instilled into us by our parents. As time went on, our mother, Ann, got involved and put her artistic skills to work doing merchandising and design.

Knowing that we needed to expand in 1984, we opened a second location in Ormond Beach. The store was located next to another long-standing local business, Billy?s Tap Room. It remained there for many years until we moved it to the Granada Plaza. This extra location helped to relieve the problem that we had with running out of chocolates at Christmas. However, we were in desperate need of a bigger kitchen to keep up with demand.

In 1985, we made the decision to build a new factory in the New Smyrna Beach Industrial Park. This was done with the thought of opening stores in the Orlando area. Unfortunately, the store in Orlando didn?t work out. It was a real learning experience, you might say.

Back to Where We Started
In 1995, we decided to buy the old Dunn Brothers Hardware/Toy store building on Beach Street and move the factory back downtown. The city was getting ready to put in a multimillion-dollar streetscape to help revitalize the downtown and the timing seemed right to make a change.

We configured the factory with a viewing hallway so we could market the chocolate factory as a tourist attraction for the millions of visitors that come to the area every year.

It has been very popular with tourists and locals alike. Many travel writers throughout the world have written about us. In 2004, Southern Living Magazine named us one of the "2004 Best Food Finds!"

At the same time we moved the chocolate factory, we relocated the New Smyrna store to Canal Street. The New Smyrna store has a very loyal local following. The area has a real small town feel to it and the customers are the nicest people you will ever meet. It reminds me of something out of the ?Andy Griffith? show.

In 1999 we expanded into the restaurant business when we added the Angell & Phelps Café next to the chocolate factory.

Long Live the Commitment to Quality!
Modern technology has certainly changed the candy business. Through the years we have seen many of our fellow candy makers switch to cheaper ingredients and find easier, less expensive ways to make their candy. We?ve always been mindful of the commitment to quality started by Ms. Angell & Ms. Phelps and have resisted any changes that would diminished that commitment. For the most part, we are still doing things the old fashioned way. Our feeling is that our customers would rather have us raise the price then compromise the quality. I feel confident that those two gutsy ladies who started this tradition would feel the same way and I imagine they?re proud of the way things have turned out.

Through large cottage windows you?ll view experienced candy makers doing things the ?old fashioned? way. After the tour everybody gets to sample the fresh chocolates free (free samples only after on-site factory tour).

Factory tours are given Monday-Friday, morning hours are 10am & 11am
and afternoon hours are 1pm, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm. Sorry, No tours on Saturdays. Store Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-5:30pm, Saturday 10am-5pm.

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