Cero's Candies Turns 130
Cero’s Candies is celebrating its 130th anniversary this year. Yes, you read that correctly. Cero’s has been operating in Wichita for 130 years, and that calls for celebration!
You're invited to Cero's 130th Anniversary Celebration!
The Cero's Candies 130th anniversary celebration will take place this Friday, Nov. 6. During the day on Friday, guests can enjoy samples of some of the shop's current candies, as well as birthday cake, coffee, tea, and punch. For 21+ guests, the celebration continues. At 6 p.m., Cero’s will serve beer from Hopping Gnome and some wine in addition to coffee and tea. Guests can listen to live music while they enjoy their drinks and candies. The event will also feature drawings and door prizes. Cero’s will be donating 10% of Friday’s sales to the Wichita Children’s Home, so stop by and show your support
History of Cero's Candies
It all began in 1883, when a Greek sailor named Peter ‘Pete’ Cero came to Wichita to work in the railroad industry. By the time the railroad workers were ready to move on, Cero had fallen ill, so he stayed in Wichita, where he would begin selling candies for a living. Cero purchased a building at 900 E. Douglas in 1885, which became the first Cero’s Candies.
The Cero family used to travel around the world to visit other chocolate shops and see what was going on in the industry. On a trip to Europe in the early 1960’s, the Ceros saw truffles for the first time, so they bought some with intent to figure out how they were made, create their own recipe and bring truffles to America, and they did just that, becoming some of the first ever to make and sell truffles.
The Ceros intentionally kept their business small in order to ensure quality candy. The original recipes were taught from one generation to the next, without even being recorded. When Cero finally did record his recipes, he had them transcribed by someone else, who followed him around while he made candies as usual, writing down his processes and measuring out the ingredients.
“We inherited a lot of the Cero’s family recipes, and we’ve added some of our own. We only had to change a few,” said Pam Bishop, one of the current owners of Cero’s.
Pete and Ed Cero
Cero's Candies Today
Today, Pam Bishop and her daughter, Darcy (Bishop) Thrasher own Cero’s Candies, currently located at 3429 E. Douglas. According to Bishop, the original Cero’s sold things like pastries and bread, as well as some candies like a peanut brittle and taffy. Cero began selling ice cream around 1900, and it was priced at a nickel a scoop.
Now, 130 years later, Bishop says that, though some upgrades have taken place, much of the candy-making process remains remarkably unchanged.
“The caramels are still made in a copper pot, with a wooden paddle, over a candy stove, and we still use the marble table from the 1930s to cool our candy down, so those kinds of things really haven’t changed,” Bishop said.
Some updates include the use of tempering pots, silicone molds for truffles, modern techniques for the more modern candies. Some of the candy making processes are really labor-intensive, taking two to three days to complete. Others can be finished in the course of a single morning.
Cero’s makes a variety of specialty candies shaped like motorcycles, cars and more, using chocolate molds.
“We do a lot of companies’ logos in chocolate, and we have different levels of packaging that they can do. Which is really kind of fun to look at different people’s logos and how we can boost their business and help them by making a memorable presentation for them,” Bishop said.