BUFFALO – Today, September 21, 2023, New York State Senator Sean Ryan celebrated National Sponge Candy Day by announcing that two of Western New York’s oldest chocolate makers have been selected as the 61st Senate District Small Businesses of the Month for September. Senator Ryan presented the owners of Fowler’s Chocolates and Watson’s Chocolates with New York State Senate Empire Awards in recognition of their outstanding sponge candy and their longstanding presence among the region’s premier chocolatiers.
Fowler’s Chocolates has been serving Buffalo since its founding in 1910 and has grown into a national business that ships to all 50 states. For decades, Fowler’s has been well-known locally as a fundraising partner for youth sports teams and non-profit organizations. This month, the company has partnered with FeedMore WNY to donate $1 to for every pound of sponge candy sold in stores or online. They have also set up collection barrels for non-perishable food items in each of their five retail locations. Customers who donate an item will receive a 10% discount on any purchase.
Founded in 1946 on Delaware Avenue in Kenmore, N.Y., Watson’s Chocolates has been a mainstay in Western New York for over 75 years. Today, the fourth-generation family business still uses family recipes to hand-craft small batches of chocolate products. Originally operating from the back room of a soda fountain and luncheonette, Watson’s now has eight locations throughout Western New York and ships their products throughout the country. Watson’s proudly supports many local organizations, including the BISON Children’s Scholarship Fund and Alzheimer’s Association WNY.
Senator Sean Ryan said, “We’re lucky to have a lot of great chocolate shops in Western New York, and the 61st State Senate District is home to two of the best sponge candy makers in the world. Fowler’s and Watson’s have provided sweet treats for generations of Buffalonians. I’m proud to honor both of these great local businesses on National Sponge Candy Day in recognition of their decades of exemplary work.”
Senator Ryan will continue to highlight businesses that deserve special recognition for their contributions to the Western New York community throughout 2023. To nominate a business for the October award, individuals should fill out the nomination form here or at ryan.nysenate.gov by Sunday, Oct. 22.
Businesses that will receive special consideration during the selection process include:
- Companies that have created a culture of philanthropy and/or demonstrated exceptional leadership in the community
- Leaders in their industry and/or innovators in their field
- Promoters of economic growth in Western New York
- Family-owned businesses that have successfully passed from one generation to another
- Companies that conduct virtuous ethical practices and/or utilize green practices
To be eligible for the award, a business must be located in the 61st Senate District, which includes parts of the City of Buffalo, as well as the entireties of the City of Tonawanda, the Towns of Amherst, Grand Island, and Tonawanda, and the Villages of Kenmore and Williamsville. To confirm whether a business is located in the 61st District, individuals can visit www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator and enter its address.