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Hippos For Hospice?

Iconic 90-Year-old Cleveland Candy Company Creates New Holiday Tradition

CLEVELAND, Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Chocolate Santas for Christmas? Check. Chocolate coins for Hanukkah? Of course. Chocolate hippos for the holidays? Yes, if Baker Candies, a 90-year-old iconic Cleveland candy company in the Collinwood neighborhood has its way, the chocolate hippo will be the new "must have" sweet treat of the season this year.  That's because a portion of the proceeds from sales of the hippos will benefit Hospice of the Western Reserve patients and families. The idea originated when the candy maker was approached by a customer requesting a sweet treat to honor his mother's least favorite holiday song: "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas."

The 7-oz. solid milk chocolate hippos and a limited supply of dark chocolate hippos can be ordered online for $10 each at www.bakercandies.com, or by visiting one of its two retail locations: 16131 Holmes Avenue, Cleveland, and 34100 Chardon Road, Willoughby Hills.

In late 2011, Hospice of the Western Reserve relocated its headquarters to 17876 St. Clair Ave., just down the road from Baker Candies, so the family-owned business with deep Cleveland roots wanted to do something meaningful to support the non-profit agency's patients. "It's our way of giving back to families in the local community who are coping with a difficult time over the holidays," said co-owner Chris Galgoczy

Nostalgia buffs of a certain age may recall that the Christmas novelty song, written by John Rox and originally performed by 10-year-old Gayla Peevey, debuted in December 1953. The American pop band Jonas Brothers brought the song back in 2007.  Country music singer Gretchen Wilson also recorded a rendition in 2009.

Cleveland Historical Ties 

Baker Candies is a fourth-generation family business established in 1921 by Louis D. Bracracheff  (later changed to "Baker"), a young immigrant from Macedonia. He originally set up shop on the corner of Lexington Ave. and E. 55th Street, growing the business into the second largest candy wholesaler in the city.  Major retail customers included The May Company, Higbee's, Nut Hut and Nut Kitchen. In 1945, Baker Candies moved to its present location on 16131 Holmes Ave. in Collinwood.

The company's chocolates are still made in small batches the traditional way, using copper pots and marble tables. They are then run on a conveyor belt enrober reminiscent of the infamous "I Love Lucy" episode, where Lucy and Ethel resorted to stuffing the chocolates into their mouths in a fruitless attempt to keep up with the accelerating pace of production. 

About Hospice of the Western Reserve

Hospice of the Western Reserve is a community-based, non-profit agency providing comfort and emotional support to patients and their families. The agency cares for people in a variety of settings, including at David Simpson Hospice House overlooking Lake Erie, in patients' homes, in hospitals and long-term care facilities, and at Ames Family Hospice House in Westlake. For more information, visit http://www.hospicewr.org.

CONTACT: Laurie Henrichsen, +1-216-701-1768, LHenrichsen@HospiceWR.org, for Hospice of the Western Reserve

SOURCE Hospice of the Western Reserve

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