Shane Confectionary Reminds Us Why They Call it Old City Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Brothers Ryan and Eric Berley have struck again. The pair, who transformed an erotic cake shop at Market and Letitia Sts. into Franklin Fountain, our favorite ice cream shop ever, have opened Shane Confectionary, a classic chocolate and candy shop that makes most of what they sell. In direct contrast to its sister scoop shop's shift from a sordid recent history, Shane Confectionary is replacing another candy shop, and is maintaining the same sort of business that has been run out of 110 Market St. for nearly 150 years.
The brothers purchased the building and the business almost two years ago from the Shane family, and have spent the intervening months recreating a one hundred year old candy shop experience for 21st century customers. So often in residential real estate, you hear about historic details preserved, like crown moulding or a staircase. In this case, the entire space, down to the fixtures, is a huge collection of historic details. Not only have they gone to tremendous lengths to rehab, restore, and rebuild the retail space, but they've also put in the time and energy to learn how to make candy and chocolate, using old-school equipment. And with Shane family recipes at their disposal, they know just what needs to be done.
The improvements to the interior are simply amazing, due mostly to the diligent detail that was captured. The store had gone through some tough years before it closed, and the space was showing serious signs of wear and tear. In addition, the old displays were haphazard and not terribly attractive to customers, with bulky boxes and plastic bags taking away from the look of the product. The new store has historic-looking display cases and presents the candy in a very "tasteful" way. (ooh, a homonym!)
We talk a lot about the idea of adaptive reuse in Philadelphia, and Old City sees plenty of it. A factory turns into a condo building. A restaurant replaces a cinema. A hat shop becomes a bar. And so on. But how many places in our fine town have maintained the same use for a century and a half? And of those, how many of them look pretty much the way they did a hundred years ago?
Bravo, Berley brothers. We'll take a dozen chocolate caramels, thank you very much.