Jeff Schwietert, a second-generation owner of Schwietert’s Candy & Cones, remembers as a boy buying for his parent’s business from Columbia Chocolates, in the Fisher Bros. building at 12th Street and Marine Drive in Astoria.
After buying the building from Wells Fargo, Schwietert is preparing to create his own candy store and factory in Astoria.
Schwietert took over about a decade ago from his parents, Barbara and Wayne, who started in 1985 with the Picnic Basket in Cannon Beach.
“If you’d ask me five years ago would I’d put a candy store in Astoria, probably no,” he said. “But at this point, with the activities going on and all the restaurants, just the renaissance that Astoria’s going through, it makes sense.”
The building’s storefront has been largely vacant for more than a year since the departure of former owner Norm Stutznegger and his company, Pacific Coast Medical Supply. Built in 1924, it was the former home of Fisher Bros., a marine supply store. The third floor is still used for office tenants Schwietert said would stay.
Besides a new coat of paint and signage outside, much of the work will involve restoring the first floor to its historical look for the candy store, Schwietert said.
“The floors will be open, and you’ll be able to see into the building.”
On the second floor will be offices and a chocolate kitchen, complete with a viewing area. Schwietert will use the kitchen to supply locations in Rockaway Beach, Manzanita, Cannon Beach and Seaside.
“We are investing in some very large pieces of equipment, just to improve how quickly we can make our chocolates,” Schwietert said. “Because right now, we can’t keep up with four stores.”