WAUWATOSA — For 100 years, Niemann’s Candies and Ice Cream in Wauwatosa has been serving delicious treats.
“It's hard not to want to do something that makes people happy.”
If treats are the name, Jim Niemann has got the game. He is the president of the company and a third generation chocolate seller. His grandfather started this sweet treat store in 1919. One hundred years later, it’s the little things that keep this store going.
"They will say hey we got this as a gift for our anniversary or whatever and it's the best candy we’ve ever had. That's what drives you.”
One of the keys to the company’s success is that Niemann said chocolate is kind of recession proof.
"I think its the one of the sin type of things that aren’t looked down upon. There's the drinking the smoking and all those things. Who really minds you eating chocolate?”
The store surived through the great depression, wars, and everything in between. Niether the recipe nor the equipment ever changed. Niemann still uses a mixer that is almost as old as the company is. The only thing that has changed is the amount of production.
“The formula is still exactly the same but times three. So this is a triple batch of toffee from what we use to stir by hand.”
As proof of the increased orders, once Niemann said somebody bought $17,000 worth of chocolate.
Niemann has worked in the store since he was a kid helping his dad whenever he could. Now, he is getting older and some of the labor is hard work. So will a fourth generation Niemann take over the family company?
"I don’t have an answer. I could tell you my kids could run it and do it, but they all have other careers right now.”
Who knows, life is like a box of chocolates.