It started during the Great Depression with an immigrant wearing a wooden box full of homemade candy.
Khalil Saykally came to Clovis from Lebanon during the Great Depression. He and his wife worked hard to make ends meet, running a boarding house and making candies in a small shop behind their home.
They would wrap up the candies they had made and place them in a box with straps, which he would then sling on his back. He then strolled a few blocks to downtown, where he walked along Main Street selling their confections. He quickly developed a loyal following, and folks who grew up during that time still talk about their favorites.
In 1949, Leslie Stillwell bought the Saykally Candy Company and changed the name to Leslie Candy Company. Stillwell was a true candymaker who had learned his trade working for a candy company in Dallas, Texas. Stillwell made a variety of chocolates, hard candies, peanut patties and taffy. He built a new shop with attached living quarters and over the next 28 years became a legend in Clovis. He began conducting tours for school children, which led to a new generation of devoted followers.
Stillwell retired in 1974 and sold Leslie Candy Co. to Gene and Sue Gibbs. Gene came with a knowledge of the grocery business and grew distribution of the company’s peanut patties to convenience stores, markets and specialty stores throughout the Southwest. Gene found another hit product when he began making cube cinnamon suckers.
Today, Leslie Candy Co. distributes Fire Cube Cinnamon Suckers and other favorites coast to coast. We’re still a small company, but we take great pride in the quality of our products. Every week folks come in our store with stories about enjoying our candies in their youth. We haven’t forgotten our roots.