As the holidays approach, many people find themselves struggling to think of new and creative ways to gift without breaking the bank. This season, LoTempio law would like to eliminate your search with the top local inventions and products you can gift to your friends and family. One of those local products includes confections from Mary Ann Hess. With the amount of star-studded events she has provided chocolates for, including the 2013 New York State Society Inaugural Gala, it is no wonder she has earned the title as the First Lady of Chocolate.
Founded in Niagara Falls, NY, or “The Honeymoon Capital of the World,” Niagara’s Honeymoon Sweets is a New York State Certified Woman Owned Business, owned and operated by Mary Ann. While it is a small, family oriented business dedicated to her grandson who was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, Mary Ann’s accomplishments are anything but small. Mary Ann has supplied chocolates for events all across the nation, and with her company’s 12th birthday approaching this January, she is hoping to continue adding to her list of accomplishments. I sat down with Mary Ann and asked her to share part of her journey with me. Here’s what she had to say.
Can you tell readers a little about yourself and how you started your company?
It all started in 1978 when I married my husband, Doug, and we didn’t have a lot of money for gifts, so I would bake and make candy to give out to friends and family. My friend, an antique dealer, would find beautiful platters for me and soon enough, friends and family would look forward to my holiday treats. In 2001, my eldest daughter gave us a grandson, and he was later diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. As a hairdresser by profession, I wanted to do something that would give my grandson, who is now 15 years old, a future when he got older, and that’s when the idea for my business started!
Why did you choose the name, Honeymoon Sweets, for your company?
We got our LLC status in 2011, and decided on the name, not only because we live in Niagara Falls, but because it is known as the honeymoon capital of the world! Niagara Falls has been a great area for marketing and events, because of how much history is behind the Falls. For example, we featured a special chocolate bar with an imprint of a tight rope walker in honor of daredevil Nik Wallenda, who walked over the Falls in 2012. We actually hold a trademark for a line of chocolates which pay tribute to the Niagara Falls daredevils of the past and present, and we are the official chocolate of Niagara Falls!
Tell me about some of the special events you have been involved in.
One of the biggest events we have supplied for was the 2013 Presidential Inauguration, where I represented Western New York at the New York State Society Inaugural Gala. I will also be attending another Inaugural Gala again for this upcoming inauguration too! I have also supplied chocolates for: Sports Emmy’s, Primetime Emmy’s, Day Time Emmy’s, Golden Globes, Academy Awards, Miss USA, Kentucky Derby, the Department of Defense, and many more!
What differentiates you between other local chocolatiers?
Our motto is “everything we do is made especially for you,” and that is so true. Everything we make is handmade and handcrafted and I believe our special custom made pieces, such as edible pictures and boxes, set us apart from anyone else. We also do edible business cards! If that isn’t enough, we hold a patent for the only chocolate mold featuring a finely detailed embossing of Niagara Falls. We are extremely accommodating to customers with allergies, and we can fulfill requests for sugar free, gluten free, truffles, and liquor infused chocolate- just make sure you let us know.
Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
As the holidays approach, we will be opened in our new factory from 10-6 for three weekends after Thanksgiving, and are currently accepting orders for gifts up until the first week of December. We are available to book birthday parties and chocolate making parties right in our new factory! Starting November 26th, we will have photos with Santa in our new store every weekend until December 11th. It is the perfect event for kids and grandkids- and you can get some holiday shopping done as well! Photos with pets can be taken, too!
Look for a feature of our new factory on Channel 4 this Wednesday, November 9, 2016!
Mary Ann with Channel 4 reporter, Brittni Smallwood.
Niagara’s Honeymoon Sweets is located at:
5540 Porter Road
Niagara Falls, NY 14304
Tuesday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (EST)
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.