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About Us

Building the Sarris Dream

Sarris Candies, known for not only its superior rich taste, but adherence to high quality standards and exceptional customer service for over 50 years, has evolved into the epitome of the American dream.

You might say it all started when Frank Sarris found a sweetheart. As a young man trying to win the affections of the lovely Athena, Frank presented her with a gift as sweet as she was, a box of chocolates. Athena's face lit up as she lifted the lid and Frank knew he was in love. He also knew he could make better chocolate.

Frank began by producing small amounts of chocolate in his basement for friends and family, and then as word spread, he began making more and more for the local market. Frank and Athena married soon after and Sarris Candies was born in the basement of their Canonsburg home.

Working as a forklift operator by day and candy maker by night, the son of Greek immigrants realized that one or the other, his candy enterprise or his career, had to end. Thankfully for the thousands of "sweet-tooths" that enjoy Sarris chocolate, Frank Sarris quit his job and started stirring batches full time.

By 1963, Frank had outgrown his basement and built a small candy shop next door to his house. Five years later, the house was demolished to make room for an even bigger candy shop and he and his wife, Athena, settled into an apartment above the store.

Over the years, Frank never forgot the quaint soda fountains of his youth, which sold ice cream and penny candy. In 1979, with the help of his son Bill, he created his very own old-fashioned ice cream parlour complete with period-style, red and brass booths and shimmering crystal chandeliers. Each year, thousands of people come from miles around to sample sundaes and other cool treats made with Sarris' homemade ice cream and toppings.

Many family members have helped to build the business into the chocolate empire that has become a Canonsburg landmark. Today, the Sarris Chocolate Factory and Ice Cream Parlour in Canonsburg cover an area the size of a full city block, with over 100 yards of chocolate, penny candy, ice cream and life-like plush toys.

Though Frank Sarris passed away on March 1, 2010, he and Athena’s love story lives on and with one taste of Sarris Chocolates, you'll fall in love, too!

Tribute to our Founder

Frank Sarris or, the “Candy Man,” a fitting moniker for a man that made a life of taking each sunrise and covering it with chocolate and a miracle or two, passed away on March 1, 2010.

As a self-made man, Mr. Sarris could be found early in the morning, seven days a week, greeting employees as they arrived and meeting customers. The main factory and showroom in Canonsburg have become not only a major business endeavor, employing more than 350 employees, but also a popular stop for visitors to buy Sarris Chocolates, see the famous chocolate castle and perhaps stop in the famous Sarris Ice Cream Parlour for homemade treats.

As an entrepreneur, Frank Sarris was named Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year in 2001 by the Pittsburgh Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration and named one of the nation's top four small-businesspeople at a White House ceremony attended by President George W. Bush. Mr. Sarris and his family also became known for their charitable contributions over the years, supporting many causes such as University of Pittsburgh programs, including the University of Pittsburgh's Library Fund, the Athletics Department and the Panther Club Athletic Scholarship Fund. Following his kidney transplant in 2002, Mr. Sarris participated in many organ donor awareness events and made a generous donation to the Thomas E. Starzl Legacy Endowment that underwrites basic science research at the transplantation institute. In 2006, the family opened the doors of the Frank Sarris Outpatient Clinic, which provides pre- and post-surgical care to transplant patients.

Mr. and Mrs. Sarris' philanthropic endeavors extend further to the local community including the Washington County Humane Society, Washington County 4-H, the Canonsburg 4th of July parade, the National Kidney Foundation of Western Pennsylvania, Animal Friends, the recently named Frank Sarris Public Library in Canonsburg and the many school and social groups supported with numerous donations, tuitions and foundations.  In addition, to honor the late Mr. Sarris for his contributions as a trustee and benefactor, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens aptly named a new hybrid candy-striped orchid after him, The Phalaenopsis 'Frank Sarris' Orchid, the Orchid being the world’s most popular flower.

Mr. Sarris' Greek heritage and upbringing contributed to his dedication to his church and community. He was a member of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, Leadership 100 and All Saints Greek Orthodox Church. He received the highest layman recognition in 2002 with an appointment as an Archon of Ecumenical Patriarchate. Other honors included Washington County Philanthropist of the Year in 2003 and Washington & Jefferson College Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002. He also was nominated for the Retail Confectioners International and National Confectioners Association Candy Industry's Kettle Award.

Frank was a person of great moral character, intellect, wisdom and professionalism, as evidenced by his contributions to the local community, and his gentle nature, caring ways and great sense of humor will be forever cherished by the lives he touched. Ever grateful for his success and good fortune, Frank will be missed by all who knew that all of his dedication and love was behind every piece of candy they enjoyed. This love has made an impression that will continue to make the world taste good for years to come.

Sarris Candies Today

With Frank’s passing in March 2010, his son, Bill, now serves as CEO of the company and has taken the experience and expertise handed down from his father to continue the legacy of Sarris Candies. From 1978 through 1996, Sarris Candies underwent nine major additions and expansions to its retail store and factory that assisted in transforming the company from a local business into a corporate empire.  In addition, Bill negotiated Sarris Candies’ acquisition of Gardners Candies, a family owned chocolate company in Central Pennsylvania, in 1997, to further increase Sarris production capacity and outreach.  Bill successfully reestablished Gardners Candies as an entity in Central Pennsylvania, and Sarris and Gardners now work together simultaneously in efficiently manufacturing and distributing product nationwide.  Alongside his mother, Athena, and with the help of other family members, including his sister and brother-in-law, Sophia and Steve Heon, and his daughters, Athena Sarris-Simms and Candace Sarris, Bill continues to position the company to move forward.  While focusing on growth in several areas, the Sarris family maintains the old fashioned values and customer service standards set by the company’s founder. As Bill expands the company into new markets and avenues of sales, he wants to continue to cultivate the image of mom and pop as the company matures, and he is one of the few that has been successful in marrying cult appeal with scale in growing the Sarris brand.

Today the company offers its fundraising programs to local schools and churches and a number of groups and athletic teams.  Along with a generous profit structure, Sarris Candies donates an endless array of product and financial sponsorship to those participating organizations for numerous other fundraising events as well.  With more and more of these groups losing funding sources, Sarris is pushing into the fringes of our traditional service areas, reaching out to provide fundraising opportunities to groups in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and beyond.

As fundraising areas expand, the retail division closely follows, pushing into new territories to feature the most popular items in retail outlets throughout the area.  Sarris Candies can now be found in over 1,800 locations in more than 11 states.    

The Sarris mail order business that began with the publication of the first catalog in 1985, has grown in many directions over the years, currently leading faithful Sarris customers to an expanding website, making access to Sarris chocolates possible worldwide.

Corporate sales feature a sophisticated array of gifts that hundreds of companies send to their customers, associates and employees each year to impress or say “Thank You.”  Personal attention to detail and customization is what makes Sarris stand out. 

At any given moment, people all over the United States are concurrently experiencing the Sarris brand, be it through the 2nd grader selling for his school fundraiser, the woman who picks up an affordable indulgence for herself at the grocery store, the man shopping for that last minute gift at Hallmark, the elderly woman picking up a prescription at CVS, the busy mom shopping online who wants chocolate delivered right to her door, or the business man looking to give his clients a sweet gift of appreciation. In today’s world of accelerating product proliferation, endless customer choice and growing variety in the marketplace, a great brand is a necessity, not a luxury. Taking a long term approach, a great brand can travel worldwide, transcend cultural barriers, and speak to multiple consumer segments simultaneously.  Capitalizing on these points, Bill Sarris recognizes the potential of offering Sarris’ products in a greater realm and in different facets of the business in order to reach a broader audience with added customer convenience.

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