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Making candy the old-fashioned way – one piece at a time

Waupunís Guthís Candy store dates back to 1921

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February 6, 2024

WAUPUN — Whether it’s 1921 or 2024, Steve Guth, current owner of Guth’s Candy in Waupun, said the art of candy-making hasn’t changed much.

“It’s still sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed whole milk,” he said “The only thing that’s different is the prices.”

Steve, 67, said the candy shop — located at 928 E. Main St. — uses a pallet of sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and sugar a week.

“We roughly use 18 tons (36,000 pounds) of chocolate yearly,” he said.

How it began
According to the store’s website (, the shop’s origins date back to 1921 when Alvin Guth, Steve’s grandfather, established the business, then known as Trojan Candy.

“Alvin worked at Trojan Candy in Beaver Dam, so he and another guy decided to open a place in Waupun,” Steve said. “In 1921, my grandpa bought the other guy out, and turned it into Guth’s Trojan Candy.”

During the 1960s, the name was changed to Guth’s Candies, with Alvin’s secret recipes being passed down to his son, John (Steve’s dad).

Guth’s Candy offers a variety of homemade candies, treats, flavored popcorn, soups and breakfast sandwiches. Submitted Photo

“It’s a fact — we have my grandpa’s recipes,” Steve said. “They are in a little recipe box. Maybe things aren’t exactly the same — things get upgraded or changed, but they are pretty much the same from 1921.”

Then in 1975, the year Steve graduated from high school, the business was sold by John to someone outside of the Guth family.

“My dad told me, ‘you don’t want to make candy because you can’t make any money doing it,'” he said.

Steve said his dad was an “old-time guy” who leaned on the holiday season to make his business go.

“That was most of his take for the year,” he said. “At the time, my dad only made candy for a few places locally.”

A few years later, Steve said he bought the business back and changed the name to Guth’s Candy.

“It took a bit to get our followers back, but today, we have more than 200 wholesale customers we ship or deliver to,” he said. “I’m now mentoring my daughter, Katie, as a fourth-generation candy maker.”

Steve said he’s been able to take a step back in the business because Katie has been doing more and more.

“I don’t make any of the candy anymore,” he said. “I do a lot of the deliveries and do warehouse sales. Katie has already bought into the business and is part owner.”

In summer 2017, Guth’s Coffee to Go was established — a coffee drive-thru across the street from the main store location.

“We were lucky we had that place during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Steve said. “During that time, we sold everything through the drive-thru.”

Where it’s going
Going on 104 years later, Steve said Guth’s Candy is still going strong.

“We have two candy enrobers — one for milk and one for dark,” he said. “We’ll run both every day, but at Christmas, they’re running wide open — 12 to 14 hours per day.”

Steve said typically, Q1 is a bit slower — except for Valentine’s Day and Easter.

“Door County basically opens up (after the winter) in May, so sometimes I’m going there every week or every other week (with deliveries),” he said. “We also make caramel for apple orchards. We have two big cookers here — 500 pounds an hour, on average, through the fall. We (work with) a lot of orchards in the state through bulk caramel.”

A few years ago, Steve said a few food items were also added to the Guth Candy’s menu.

In summer 2017, Guth’s Coffee to Go was established — a coffee drive-thru across the street from the main store location. Submitted Photo

“We do homemade soups through the winter and make breakfast sandwiches,” he said. “The soups have taken off — they’re delicious- My daughter is a good cook.”

Steve said when his grandpa had the candy store, it was more of a soda fountain and restaurant with some candy as well.

“When we introduced the soups, my sister called me and said, ‘you guys are going in reverse,'” he laughed.

Hours for the candy store are from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

For the coffee drive-thru, hours are from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to noon on Saturday and from 6:30 a.m. to noon on Sunday.

For more information, visit the website or follow the store on Facebook.

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