One of the region’s most beloved institutions for nearly half a century is Snook’s Candies in Folsom. Established in 1963 by John and Jeannine Snook, the business focuses on creating high quality confections with old-fashioned flair.
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Jim and Renee Snook are the second generation to own and operate the unique chocolate factory that is always “on view” to visitors. It is a regular occurrence to see Jim or son Eric (the third generation) stirring delicious caramel or peanut brittle in copper kettles behind glass windows. Candies — including superior chocolates, truffles and brittles — are made fresh daily.
The mouthwatering scent of chocolate immediately greets visitors at the store entrance on the corner of Sutter and Wool streets. It is no secret that chocolate is one of the favorite treats on Planet Earth.
The real secret of success at Snook’s is this family’s foundation of wholesome values and togetherness. They are all in this venture together — and they have it “all together.”
“In a lot of ways our secret is to always give 100 percent and never give up…especially when someone tells you that something can’t be done,” said Renee. “My father-in-law was told he would never make it in the candy business by the person who taught him. He didn’t listen, and pushed forward. It was hard, but somehow he and my mother-in-law made it work.”
There were times when people told Jim and Renee that they would never make it on Sutter Street, especially when they contemplated purchasing the building where they are currently located at 731 Sutter Street. The couple chose to continue to work the formula that had always worked for them before: Work hard, work smart, stick together as a family and persevere.
“It was incredibly challenging and we were successful,” she said. “It has been the best decision we have made. Generations of hard work and determination manifested in a building. We see our future in that building — solid.”
The third generation of Snooks are drawn to the business “not just because we have fantastic candies and chocolates, but because it is our family,” Renee said. “It’s special and we all feel it. The fact that our customers ‘feel’ it too means so much to us. They tell us all the time about how they grew up going to Snook’s and loved it. And now, they have children of their own and want them to share the experience. Family to family, an amazing gift to all. I love it. Jim loves it. My boys love it. Our customers love it, so the business is set for the future.”
Jim is the master confectioner at the store. Renee handles the bookkeeping and merchandising/displays. She also works with the chocolate. And as a true family member, she “has her husband’s back.”
“There are three boys in the third generation: Eric, Dan and Alex. Eric is committed to following in his grandfather’s and father’s footsteps, and he is well on his way to becoming a master chocolatier himself.
“We are proud to have Eric on board,” Renee said. “Dan is an incredibly talented musician and song writer and works on a career in music while working for us, and he refuses to work anywhere else while he pursues music. Alex, the youngest, just like brother Dan, refuses to work elsewhere while pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice. They may leave some day but their hearts will always be at Snook’s where their family is. Snook’s is not just a business, it’s a family.”
Over the years, Renee has created and developed the look and feel of the store, from the warmth of the décor to the specialty custom boxes and gift sets.
“I added the ‘woman’s touch,’” she said. “This is a family of boys. Someone had to make the chocolates pretty. I have always said that I honor Jim’s (and now Eric’s,too) hard work by adorning it with beautiful packaging. I am always searching for clever and affordable gift boxes and ribbons-no simple task, I assure you.”
“As a family, the business consumes our lives,” Renee said. “Friends and family alike come to visit us so often that sometimes it can be hard to get work done, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s like coming to our home and all are welcome anytime. We have given up vacations, social functions, and had many sleepless nights, ensuring this business is, and will continue, to be successful. Only our customers can really make that a reality, though. As long as we keep that first in our minds, we will be going strong for generations to come. Snook’s truly is a family business. All of this is our secret to success, I would have to say.”
Snook’s Candies is located at 731 Sutter Street in Folsom’s historical district.