Preston’s celebrates 60 years

Preston’s Candy and Ice Cream took its place on Broadway once upon a time amid Big Band music, Jimmy Stewart movies and the start of the baby boom.

The Burlingame mainstay, a throwback to old-fashioned candy stores that hand-made their wares, is still alive and kicking 60 years later.

Owner Irene Preston — who is actually no relation to original owner Art Preston — said the challenge of keeping up with the changing times is part of the job description. While Preston and her five-person production team deliberate how to make truffles that espouse tantalizing “mouth-feels” and aftertastes, keeping the business evolving with fresh ideas and new recipes is what will keep Preston’s around for another 60 years, she said.

Among those new ideas are wedding cakes, which the store is scheduled to start selling around the end of the year.

In spite of the constant changes the business continues to undergo, Preston said the longtime institution is committed to its history.

Employees make almost everything on-site with chocolate from the Burlingame-based Guittard Chocolate Company, including truffles, turtles and regular chocolate bars. Chocolate molds — ranging from turkeys for Thanksgiving to made-to-order logos for local businesses — are among the business’ specialties.

Art Preston, an award-winning candy maker, ran the business until his retirement in 1997, when Irene Preston took over.

Irene Preston, a Sunnyvale resident, has no official training in candy making, having worked as an art teacher and graphic designer for years. She said her art background comes in handy for candy design and composition — visually and when creating compatible flavor combinations — while her experience in accounts receivable helps her balance the books.

“Life kind of has those twists and turns,” Preston said. “You think you’ll go in a straight line and you end up taking a completely different path.”

Broadway merchant and Broadway Business Improvement District President Ross Bruce, a Burlingame native himself who remembers buying ice cream there as a kid, said the store is among the biggest draws for locals and visitors.

“We actually have an honest-to-goodness candy maker right here on Broadway,” Bruce said. “Not a lot of places can claim that.”

Free candy tours and live music will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 20 and 21 at Preston’s, 1170 Broadway.

tramroop@examiner.com

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