BUTTE – A lot of things have changed in Butte in the past six decades but one sweet thing has not.
This Montana Made report features Shepperd’s Candy which has been making life a little sweeter in the Mining City the same way since 1954.
Bruce Shepperd made candy in several Butte locations, but a building on Harrison Avenue would be his final location. And if you’d walked in back in 1954, it wouldn’t have looked much different than it does today — and the candy wouldn’t taste any different.
"Dad Shepperd always said you never want to toy with the quality of the product. So for us, it’s just been a time-honored tradition that those are the recipes and the formulas and the techniques that follow," Sheppard’s Candy co-owner Ron Gallardo said. "Because again, a formula is good you toy with the technique and you will get something different especially when it comes to something like candy."
Bruce Shepperd passed on his knowledge — and ultimately the business — to his son Bruce and Gallardo — who began working for Bruce Junior as a teen — is now part owner along with Bruce’s daughter.
"I started working here as a freshman in high school, on and off through college. I still worked here and…I personally loved the craft, the art, the artistry I guess that goes into it," Gallardo said.
Watching Gallardo work it is an art. The recipes haven’t changed and neither has the equipment — whether it’s the copper pots or the marble tables that Bruce Senior bought and used to start Shepperd’s Candy.
The tools of the trade are likely more than a century old and they turn sugar and nuts into candy and Gallardo remains a kid in a candy store.
"Christmas time I’m stirring the stoves…Dave will come in and help out and we’ll have both stoves going you know, 14 hour days, whatever, to keep up with it. You do get tired by Christmas but you know all year round its something that’s just enjoyable," Gallardo said. "It’s a lifestyle, it’s not a job.
Ron’s wife and son also work at Shepperd’s Candy helping keep that family approach first started by Bruce Shepperd Senior alive and well 64 years after he sold his first piece of candy.
We’re told that the cashew brittle is worth the road trip to Butte.