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Ye Olde Pepper Companie, Salem

#4 of 24 in Shopping in Salem
Gift & Specialty Shop · Hidden Gem · Shopping
America's Oldest Candy Company 1806

The Company with a Little History in Every Bite

Got a sweet tooth? Then you'll want to sample the mouth watering confections manufactured by Ye Olde Pepper Companie of Salem, Massachusetts, America’s Oldest candy company. The company is rich in history and dates back to 1806, when an English woman Spencer by name, was shipwrecked and landed in Salem in a rather destitute condition.

Mrs. Spencer and her son made their home on Buffum Street and did their best to survive during very difficult times. When her neighbors learned that Mrs. Spencer knew how to make candy they all got together and purchased for her a barrel of sugar. Little did they know that this single act of kindness would produce the "Salem Gibralter," said to be the first candy made and sold commercially in America and carried around the world by sea captains and their crew.

She first sold her candies from wood firkins on the steps of the First Church, however, the candies became so popular that she purchased a horse and wagon (displayed in the Peabody Essex Museum) to peddle her confections dressed in the long attire of the day with sunbonnet to shield her eyes, she sat proud and straight in the open wagon guiding the horse to neighboring towns, thus our horse and wagon logo.

When Mrs. Spencer died her son carried on the business until about 1830, when he decided to return to England and the company was then sold to a George William Pepper, under whose leadership the company prospered for many years, adding items to its catalogue such as the Black Jack (an all natural stick candy made from black strap molasses).

During the late 1800's the first Burkinshaw went to work for the Pepper Company as a candy maker and eventually met his future wife there. Sometime around the turn of the century the Burkinshaw family purchased the Pepper Company and all their original recipes including the ones originated by Mrs. Spencer herself. Both Mrs. Spencer and Mr. Pepper maintained the highest quality and standards for their confections.

In keeping with this tradition and the fine art of candy making handed down from generation to generation, the Burkinshaw family now in it's fourth generation seems destined to prosper as a family business for many years to come.

We hope that you will enjoy our confections as much as we have enjoyed producing them for you. Your satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us. Please feel free to contact us with any comments or suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you.
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Ye Olde Pepper Companie reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
221 reviews
  • Everyone was so friendly in the store, very helpful and the candy is wonderful. Must come here every time I am in Salem. Don’t miss it.  more »
  • Decadent fudge and great old candies. Adorable little store and fabulous flavor. I would be here weekly if we lived close!  more »
  • These candies have become an anticipated Christmas treat for the family. Having them local is a treat of fantastic windfall. They absolutely know their business. Worth a quick peak if only for the smells and aesthetics!
  • Awesome old school candy store!!! We popped in after a great visit to The House of Seven Gables and it was worth the quick walk across the street. You have to check it out!

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