A young Greek couple set off from their native land to pursue the dream of a new life in America. After arriving at Ellis Island, Charlie and Orania made their way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There they settled and made a life together relying on a skill that they carried with them from the family kitchen back in Greece – handcrafted chocolates.
Once they had enough money saved, Charlie and Orania opened their first chocolate shop and soda fountain. Chocolates were made in the back of the store, while customers shopped in the front. At the time, a milkshake was a true treat for the whole family. Home refrigeration was a luxury few could afford, so to savor the taste of ice cream, let alone the thick chill of a handmade milkshake, was cause for an excursion to a soda fountain.
The small store thrived and when the second generation joined the family business, it came time to move from producing chocolates in the back, to opening a chocolate factory. The company’s first production facility was set up in a building previously used as a theater. The location is still producing many of the same chocolates.
As the third generation entered the family business, they again expanded, establishing a second production facility and a handful of retail stores. At this time they also began to venture into fundraising under the name Geoffrey Boehm, selling chocolates wholesale to churches, schools, and civic organizations.
More than a century from its soda fountain days, the fourth generation took over the business. With great foresight and intuition, they re-imagined their family business. During this time both Edward Marc Chocolatier and The Milk Shake Factory were coined; brands were born.
Once established, The Milk Shake Factory and Edward Marc Chocolatier brands began to build momentum. Edward Marc Chocolatier developed a thriving corporate gift business, while The Milk Shake Factory gained a foothold in South Side Pittsburgh’s thriving nightlife scene.
Edward Marc Chocolatier opened its first retail location inside The Pentagon, headquarters to the United States Department of Defense.
Edward Marc Chocolatier takes a first step toward mass market retail by piloting Pretzel Bites in select HEB stores in Texas. This foray into retail would prove to be a significant step that would later enable the company to build a successful foundation to launch the Snappers brand.
The Costco Wholesale Candy Buyer for the Northeast approaches the company to make something special for the membership warehouse club. Snappers, a new twist on an Edward Marc Chocolatier classic, were created. The item started in the northeast region and quickly expanded from 14 clubs to 134 and is currently available in all Costco warehouses globally.
After experiencing success at Costco Wholesale, Snappers entered mass market retail. A smaller bag size and the expansion to multiple flavors were introduced and a 50,000 square foot facility opened in Pittsburgh. Edward Marc Brands was established as the corporate name for the brand portfolio which includes Edward Marc Chocolatier, The Milk Shake Factory, and Snappers.
Edward Marc Chocolatier launches retail items in the mass marketplace for the first time. Again partnering with Costco Wholesale, dark chocolate barks and coconut almonds debuted in select regions.
Approached by PNC Bank to open a second location inside their new world-class tower, The Milk Shake Factory experiences a renaissance as it undergoes a full rebranding, updated menu offerings, and designs a revised store concept blending old and new. The elegant store serves handspun shakes, craft sundaes, and gourmet chocolates in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh.