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Verdugo Views: Like kids in a candy store

November 29, 2011|By Katherine Yamada
  • Salvatore D'Amico opened a candy store at 143 South Brand Boulevard, on the west side of the street, near the Capitol Theatre.( Photo courtesy Glendale Historical Society)
Salvatore D'Amico opened a candy store at 143 South…

This is the story of a man named Salvatore D’Amico, who was born in Italy, came to the United States and opened a candy shop on Brand Boulevard. The story came to light when Denise Hill contacted the Glendale Historical Society, seeking information on a candy store once owned by her grandparents. Her father, Frank, had worked there along with his sisters.

Later, Hill put me in touch with her aunt, Gloria D’Amico Gonzalez, who relayed the following story.

One by one, the D’Amico siblings came to the States. The oldest, Vito, went to St. Louis, then Joe went to New York. When Salvatore was 18, he too went to St. Louis. There he married a young girl, Virginia, also from Italy. They had four children, Frank, Violet, Virginia and Gloria.

Salvatore D’Amico operated a restaurant specializing in fried chicken. But he was intrigued by a friend’s candy store and often watched him work while dreaming of going to California and opening his own shop.

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When the Depression hit, the restaurant failed, and in 1932 the family moved to New York, where D’Amico pressed clothes and his wife worked as a seamstress. He disliked his job and continued to dream of a candy store.

By 1940, brother Joe had moved to California and reported a land of opportunity. So D’Amico decided to follow his dream and brought his family to Glendale.

They rented a house on Doran Street and opened Daily Maid Candies at 143 South Brand, near the Capitol Theatre, according to George Ellison of Special Collections.

They specialized in chocolates, creams, peanut brittle and nut clusters and had a salted peanut display. All the candies were hand-made. Frank liked to tell customers, “Daily Maid candies are daily-made.’’

The store was open daily until 11 p.m., when the last movie ended at the theater. “By then the policemen were making their routine checks, and they liked to stop by to chat with Frank and sample the candies.”

After school, Gonzalez put on her red-and-white-checked uniform and went to work. “We all had the same uniform, my mother too. We all worked there.”

During the war, sugar and chocolate were rationed, Gonzalez said. “There were two other candy stores on Brand, a See’s and a MacFarlane. They could be open only a few hours each day because they combined their sugar and chocolate to make their cream candies and quickly ran out of supplies.”

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