Colleen Bennett - Sotheby's International Realty

SATURDAY DRIVE: Take a Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane to JerryLand!

May 21, 2017
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Jerry and Sam are ready to serve you.

ONTARIO, Calif., May 21, 2017 — I just hope that Warren Buffett, the world’s greatest investor who long ago bought See’s Candies and added it to his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate of companies years ago, never finds out about Logan’s Candy in Ontario, Calif.

Unlike a See’s franchise, there’s only Logan’s Candy and there’s only one Jerry Rowley, who started working in the store in 1974 before he bought it in 1982. The store originally opened in 1933, when a little sweetness went a long way in the heart of the Great Depression. He and the store on “B” Street just off grand Euclid Avenue are now irreplicable.

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Together they are the mint, like a Fort Knox of candy with more than 600 candy varieties to choose from, including more than 200 that they make in the store fresh daily.

Also, memo to Amazon. Don’t think of trying to clone or outmuscle Logan’s with your same-day shipping enticements. Jerry invented “fresh” way before way before “AmazonFresh” came along. After he makes a cherry cordial or chocolate-dipped strawberry, it’s on the the fast track from the kitchen to the counter.  

“As soon as it cools off enough, we move it to the front window and it sells,” Jerry said.

Logan’s is the antidote to the big box that survives on scale but not necessarily quality. Jerry and his crew carefully craft just about every candy you see in the store that doesn’t come in a wrapper. He makes his own caramel, his own marshmallow, his own candy canes. Willy Wonka would have a hard time keeping up with this guy.

The shave ice at Logan’s is No. 1. The shavings come from a frozen round disc, and that makes all the difference.

Although he makes special candies for every holiday — Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and all the rest — Jerry really heats up during the high holidays. In fact, he cranks out about 75,000 candy canes alone in November and December, and he does it all in full diplay of nightly 500-plus person crowds who ooh and awe over his custom candy cane-making skills.

He can make a seven-inch candy cane or a 17-foot candy cane. He is flexible like the sugar and corn syrup he can form and mold into the most amazing shapes. He also aims to please.

That’s why in addition to the 13 varieties of fudge, 12 different cream centers and endless jars of loose candies that he makes, he also offers candy apples, frozen bananas, Bert & Rocky’s ice cream (with his peppermint and toffee), shave ice, and nostalgia candy like Abba-Zabas, Necco Wafers, Bit-O-Honeys and Black Crows.

His prices are also extremely reasonable. You’ll pay $2 less for a candy apple here than in Claremont, owing in part to the fact that rents in downtown Ontario are a bargain.

Jerry didn’t start out to be a candy maker. He majored in business in college, but once he started working at Logan’s, he learned things about business that no textbook could teach. In particular, he discovered early on that if you don’t make a good product, people aren’t coming back.   

When he bought the store in 1982, he remembers telling himself, “I think I can make this business better than it is.” 

And he has. Almost 35 years later, he has doubled the size of the store and multiplied his customer base exponentially. Among his flock of fans, he is now serving fourth-generation customers.

Because he is a hands-on owner, most days his apron is splattered with chocolate or butterscotch or some other tasty confection. They are the telltale signs of his trade, marked by 50-, 60- or even 80-hour work weeks.  Especially around the holidays, his wife Susan and daughter Abigail are pitching in right there with him, not to mention all the great employees he has hired over the years.

“If I didn’t get the chance to work with my wife and daughter, I probably would have retired a long time ago,” Jerry said.

More than a decade ago, Jerry and Susan lost their daughter Hannah to leukemia. The community rallied with fundraisers and other support, but even that amazing support pales to what Jerry has given the Ontario and Pomona Valley community in return.

He is literally still that kid in the candy store, making us all feel younger, too. He has sweetened more lives than he’ll ever know.

At a time when it’s all so easy to go to Costco or Amazon or even to See’s to bulk up on what the mass market has in mind for us, Jerry still does it one at a time … because he is one of a kind.

The next time, you’re heading east on Interstate 10, exit at Euclid, head south to “B”, turn right, and spend some time in Jerryland.

Logan’s is located at 125 W. B Street in Ontario. The phone number is 909.984.5410. The store is closed Sunday. To see how Jerry makes candy canes, view the video on the LaVerneOnline.com splash page.

Count me as one of Jerry’s kids after I downed, not one, but two of his cool treats on a 90-degree day.

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “SATURDAY DRIVE: Take a Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane to JerryLand!”

  1. Are there any days when we can “view” candy-making? I have out-of-town guests coming. They will
    be here June 21-26.

    Thanks

    Sheryl Lindsay

  2. Sheryl,

    I would just give Jerry a call at the shop at the number above listed in the story. I know he whips up special batches from time to time. Let me know if he’s making marshmallows or caramels. If he is, I’ll be on my as well. Thanks.

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