In Northern Kentucky, families have been coming to Schneider’s Sweet Shop in Bellevue to get their sugar fix since the 1930s.
Jack Schneider is the current owner. His father started the business and kept it in the family.
“Basically I was born in this building,” he says. “When I was about 13 years old, my dad came up and dragged me off the couch and said, it’s time for you to go to work. You’re 13, you’re old enough. If we got busy down in the store, my dad would go bang on a pipe. You’d better come running down and help with the customers. I can remember sitting there and doing my homework all night long. It was a family thing. My brothers and sisters were all involved, same thing.”
Jack learned how to make candy the way his father did, and that knowledge is indispensable today, according to Jack’s daughter, Kelly.
“I’d say half the equipment that we use is all from the 30s,” says Kelly. “So if it breaks down, you can’t really replace it. Dad takes special care of everything. I think he’s the only one who knows how to work all the equipment and how to fix it when it does break down.”
Schneider’s is best known for its opera creams, a type of chocolate-covered cream candy developed in the Cincinnati area and still fairly unique to the region. Jack says that the opera creams are their best seller, but they’re far from the only treat available for customers at the Sweet Shop.
Besides a variety of chocolate candies, Schneider’s has their own, house-made ice cream and toppings. Ice balls are a type of snow cone popular with young customers, and the ice and flavorings are all made in-house as well.
“My favorite thing from working here was on the weekends,” says Kelly. “Families would come in and sometimes people would wait a half an hour to come in and get an ice ball or ice cream, and everybody was so happy.”
According to Jack, Schneider’s has loyal customers who keep coming back despite other options because they know they’ll get a high-quality treat at the store every time. And that customer loyalty spans generations.
“Schneider’s is a tradition at our house,” says customer Sandy Boguszewski. “My husband loves their opera creams. We have a box of opera creams in our cupboard all the time. My grandma and grandpa were raised in Bellevue and they were some of the first patrons of Schneider’s. My mom and dad brought us here as children and my grandma and grandpa brought us here. Now I have grandchildren who come at least once or twice a week to visit us and every time we have to come to Schneider’s”
This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2404, which originally aired on October 27, 2018. Watch the full episode.