The history of this confectionery family dates back to 1919, when Chester K. “Chet” Enstrom got his start in the candy business. At 17 years of age, Chet went to work in the ice cream factory at Barthel’s Confectionery in Colorado Springs. Often, when his shift ended, he would help out across the street in the adjacent candy factory, and he quietly began learning the candy-maker’s art.
In 1929, Chet and his bride, Vernie, packed up their Model T and drove the rut-filled roads to Grand Junction, Colorado to begin a new life. There Chet and a partner, Harry Jones, launched the Jones-Enstrom Ice Cream Company, a business he pursued for the next thirty years.
By 1960, his almond toffee had begun to develop a reputation and, at the urging of those early gift-recipients, Chet founded Enstrom Candies. Chet and Vernie planned to make their new “Candy Kitchen” a mom-and-pop operation, but the orders kept flooding in. By 1965, Enstrom was shipping almond toffee worldwide and Chet sold the business to his son and daughter-in-law, Emil and Mary Enstrom, so he could pursue a political career in the Colorado State Senate.
Under the direction of Emil and Mary, Enstrom Candies thrived. In 1979, their daughter, Jamee and her husband, Doug Simons, joined the Company. In 1990, Chet’s grandson, Rick, and his wife Linda, opened a retail store in Denver’s Cherry Creek North. In 1993, Jamee and Doug purchased the business and continued building the Company.
Today, Enstrom Candies remains a family business. Jamee and Doug oversee the operation of the “Candy Kitchen” and retail stores in Grand Junction, Colorado, where every batch of traditional almond toffee is still made by hand with only the finest, freshest ingredients. Rick and Linda manage the Denver-area retail stores. Jamee and Doug are also very proud that their sons, Doug Jr. and Jim, have joined the Company to become the fourth-generation of the family business and are learning the art of what it takes to make world-class confections.
Throughout the last 50 years, Enstrom Candies has expanded their product line to include toffee popcorn, truffles and delicious gourmet chocolates. Thanks to Granddad Chet, they are celebrating over fifty years of a treasured family business; over fifty years of watching eyes light up and smiles appear when people taste the world’s finest almond toffee. Most importantly, they are celebrating more than fifty years of honoring Granddad’s philosophy that “we’re just making a little almond toffee for a few of our friends.”