WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) – There are sweet souvenirs and then there are sweet souvenirs. Many can’t leave town without grabbing some salt water taffy or a box of that creamy fudge. There is a business on the boardwalk that has making both for a century now. Step right off the Wildwood boardwalk and inside Douglass Fudge, which is celebrating 100 years at its very location.
When you walk in here, it’s almost like walking into an old-fashioned candy shop. It just has the nostalgic feel about it.
The shop has a century full of history and the candles, like the decor, have remained almost exactly the same.
“A lot of it is still the same, our fudge and salt water taffy, a lot of it dates back to the early 1900s,” business manager Jason Dugan said.
Dugan is the fourth generation running the family business.
“My great grandfather’s brother founded it, then after he passed my great grandfather took it over,” Dugan said. “Then down to my grandmother and her brothers and then down to my mom. And now my brother and I.”
And they make sure there is something for everyone regardless of their preference for sweets.
For those who don’t like chocolate, there are still plenty of other options.
“Maple, maple walnut, pistachio, cherry vanilla, orange Creamsicle, coconut,” Dugan said.
And this year, the shop is featuring a special edition.
“So this is our 100th anniversary fudge here,” Dugan said, “and it looks like a birthday cake. It’s a cake batter flavoring. We put fresh, homemade buttercream icing on it. I dare you to come in, try a piece and not buy one.”
Dugan took CBS3 to the back to see where all the candy creations get made.
There’s a vacuum cooker, which is the first step for making their salt water taffy.
Next the flavors are added and the taffy is stretched. Then the big slabs head to the machine room.
“These are the old-fashioned machines,” Dugan said. “Yeah, we have one built in the ’40s and built in the ’60s.”
The candy is fed through, popping out up to 400 pieces of taffy per minute.
From the machine room, the candy heads to the chocolate room.
“It is fun, especially when you’re a chocoholic like me,” an employee said.
What also makes it fun is, the staff here is like family.
One employee named Marie, who is 86 years old, has been working at the store for 53 years.
Marie showed CBS3 how to make almond bark, which she doesn’t use gloves for so she can feel the candy’s temperature as the liquid chocolate solidifies.
It’s people like Marie and all of the characters at Douglass that Dugan hopes will keep the shop running and its customers returning for another 100 years.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary, the shop is randomly putting “golden tickets” in some of their chocolate bars.
Customers who find them will be given one pound of free fudge for the next 100 years and a tour of the factory.