HELENA — A Helena staple, the relatively unchanged Parrot Confectionery, is coming up on its 100th anniversary during one of its busiest times of the year.
“You know, I truly think it's the community. There have been people who've been coming here for 50 years, and they, you know, their kids are now coming in and telling us that their grandma, you know, has their name carved in this booth. It’s eclectic and really reminiscent of Helena,” says Carlee Kleinschmidt, head confectioner at The Parrot Confectionery.
As the Parrot Confectionery maneuvers its way through one of its busiest times of the year, there is a familiar rhythm, a pattern practiced for nearly a century.
This upcoming Easter holiday the confectionery will yet again have the pleasure of supplying Helena with handmade candies and chocolates.
Opening on April 28, 1922, The Parrot Confectionery was originally in a different location until that building burned down. The candy shop has been in its current location since the 1930s, and despite changing owners a few times, those in charge have worked to maintain a community space for all.
“We've had birthday parties in an ice cream social for a 90-year-old and a nine-year-old, you know, in the same day. And that’s kinda cool,” says Kleinschmidt.
Most of the artwork, figures, and trinkets that line the walls were given to the confectionery by the community.
Through it all, the Parrot has remained just about the same as it was when they first moved into their current address. Most of the candy is made by hand and the interior hasn’t had much of any kind of modern redecoration.
You can take a seat behind a booth, bite into your favorite candy, and know that everything would have been just about the same as when your grandparents were children.
Kleinschmidt sums up the consistency of the candy store well, “...people know that they can come here and get the same product that they did 50 years ago. It's all of the same processes. It's all made the same way. And so, that's really cool. It's very old school and you don't find, you don't find many people that produce that by hand anymore.”