Our Story

George & Alice Burkinshaw

We are a small family business, yes I did say family; operating today in our fourth generation of candy makers. This is our story: Around the turn of the 20th century George Burkinshaw purchased the George W Pepper Companie. George began working for this company as a boy sweeping the floors and other odd jobs. As he grew he worked his way up and began assisting with the candy making. For years he learned the art of confections. At that time the well-known “Salem Gibralter” and Black Jack was the popular candy of the day. Mary Spencer’s “Salem, Gibralters” date back to the early 1800’s where she peddled these candies from the steps of the First Church in Salem, MA. The Black Jack is credited to John Pepper as its creator. These two historic candies were the first candies to be sold commercially in America, they have a story all their own and they continue even today over 200 years later to be our flagship candy.

George upon his purchase of the company also purchased the recipes for the Salem Gibralter and Black Jack. During the early 1900’s most of his business were those two candies and various hard candies he added. George ran the business with wife Alice; the couple met while working for the George W Pepper Companie. They had one child George Jr; he helped his father occasionally but was a soldier and was sent overseas to fight during WWII. Upon the completion of the war George Jr. continued working for the Chelsea Naval Yard in Boston, MA. Although, he still helped his father make candy on the side.

George Burkinshaw Jr.

A family story that we believe probably is the reason our company still exists today is the following: George Sr. was sick and in the hospital, basically on his last days. He was so distraught; not over his current health situation but about his candies. He was convinced the Gibralter and Black Jack would die with him. In an effort to comfort his father George Jr went to the shop that night, he worked all night and made a batch of each of the candies. The next morning he brought a piece of each candy to his father, to prove to him that he could produce these candies. From that point on George Jr. continued his father’s legacy.

Myrtle & Robert Burkinshaw

By his side was his wife Myrtle who through the years would run the office, run the store and when needed help make the candy. The couple had a son Robert and during this time the business would grow from hard candies into chocolates and fudges too. Unlike his father Robert began working for the company as a small child and went directly into the business after graduating from college. In the past 30 years the company has grown to have 2 store locations, wholesale division and website store.

Early Sketch of Mary Spencer circa 1800’s delivering her ‘Salem Gibralters‘, our company proudly has
kept this sketch as our company logo. We are the custodians of a piece of history with every Gibralter we produce
today. We make these candies completely by hand the same way Mrs. Spencer did over 200 years ago.

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