Huyler's was a candy and restaurant chain in the New York City metropolitan area which was in business beginning in the 19th Century. Huyler’s chocolate and candy company was once the largest and most prominent chocolate maker in the United States. In 1883 their candy factory was located at Irving Place and 18th Street in Manhattan. The New York City Telephone Building occupied the opposite corner of 18th Street. The firm was on a list of businesses in a 1901 issue of the New York Times, which had been in existence for at least fifty years. The chain was owned by John S. Huyler, later a trustee of Syracuse University. He died in 1910 at the age of 65.
John Seys Huyler was born in New York City on June 26, 1846 to David and Abigail Ann (née DeKlyn)Huyler. His father had a bakery and ice cream shop in Greenwich Village, probably on Jane Street. The family lived above the store. Huyler began working in his father's shop as a teenager. He began making a soft molasses candy and selling out of his father’s store.
John Huyler's first business was a shop on Broadway near 18th Street. It sold ice cream and candy. Huyler marketed his candy by placing a candy puller in the front store window, so that people walking by would stop and watch the candy being made. He saved the profit from the endeavor and put it back in his business, opening his first store in 1874. A few years later he opened three more stores in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Albany. In 1881 the company was incorporated and became known as Huyler’s, Inc. A factory was constructed at Eleventh and Bleeker Streets in New York City, to manufacture candy for sale in the various shops. This facility was quickly out-grown, and replaced around 1883 by a larger six-story factory and office located at 62-64 Irving Place and 18th Street. Huyler’s candies were manufactured in small batches, which cost more to produce, but allowed the company to monitor the quality of the products more carefully. While the main store was located at 863 Broadway, with a reputation for freshness and purity, by 1885 Huyler’s candies were sold in fashionable Newport, Rhode Island, and the resort communities of Saratoga, New York and Long Branch, New Jersey.
Milton S. Hershey arrived in New York in the spring of 1883 and worked employed at Huyler’s until 1885 when he returned to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to establish his own company.
Huyler made frequent trips to Europe to study new candy creations being developed in England, France, and Germany.
The six-story building at Irving Place sustained $70,000 worth of damage caused by a fire on June 18, 1889. The conflagration burned three floors of the structure completely. Another fire broke out at Huyler's on the night of January 27, 1917, in a brick building separated from the main part of the candy factory. Firemen struggled for more than an hour to control the blaze which gutted a portion of the plant. One source believed the fire began because of defective insulation wires.
A Southern United States syndicate purchased Huyler's in December 1925. In 1927 Huyler's candy and ice cream shops were owned by David A. Schulte, head of Schulte Stores. He envisioned opening five hundred stores within five years, to be operated by Huyler's Luncheonettes Inc. The new subsidiary maintained its offices at 110 East 13th Street.
The Irving Place site of Huyler's candy factory was acquired by a building syndicate in 1928. It planned to erect an apartment building in its place.
At the time of his death on October 1, 1910, Huyler had 54 stores across America, supplied by 14 candy factories employing about 2,000 people.
Benjamin F. DeKlyn, an associate of John Huyler in the formation of the candy company, sold thirty shares of stock in Huyler's Inc., to Frank DeKlyn Huyler and Coulter D. Huyler, sons of the founder, in 1910, for $349,000. The other sons were John S. Huyler Jr., the youngest and David Huyler. The former died after his father before reaching the age of 21. In an accounting filed in a New York Surrogate Court on October 21, 1926, the trust fund left by John S. Huyler for his three sons was found to have increased 100% over the previous thirteen years. Over the same period Huyler's widow, Mrs. Rosa F. Huyler Cooke, received $390,000 from a $500,000 trust fund.
- A Fright Among Work Girls, New York Times, December 20, 1883, pg. 2.
- Irving Place Changes, New York Times, January 3, 1909, pg. 13.
- 1851 - 1901, New York Times, September 18, 1901, pg. JS31
- $20,000 For Being Late, New York Times, January 20, 1910, pg. 1.
- "The Man Who Saved Montreat — John S. Huyler, The Candy King", Montreat History Spotlight, Presbyterian Heritage Center, Montreat, North Carolina
- "Huyler’s Candy Company Building Nomination for Listing on the State & National Registers of Historic Places", Clinton Brown Company Architecture/Rebuild, August 2011
- John S. Huyler Dies In 65th Year, New York Times, October 2, 1910, pg. 13.
- Kins, J. N., "The Accomplishments of Forty Years", The National Magazine, Vol. XLI, 1914
- Fire In A Candy Factory, New York Times, June 19, 1889, pg. 8.
- Many See Flames Feed On Huyler's, New York Times, January 28, 1917, pg. 18.
- J.S. Huyler Trusts To Sons Show Gain, New York Times, October 26, 1926, pg. 21.
- "Business: Huyler's" ime, January 31, 1927
- Schulte to Combine Soda and Smoke Shops; Says Changing Tastes Have Ended Rivalry, New York Times, April 5 1929, pg. 30.
- Mandelbaum's Buy Third Av. Buildings, New York Times, August 1, 1928, pg. 37.
- Appraise De Klyn Estate, New York Times, July 22, 1919, pg. 17.
- "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 02/06/12 through 02/10/12. National Park Service. 2012-02-17.