When Charles Brooks Oakford started a candy company in Merchantville, he didn’t want to use his family name. If the business failed, he reasoned, few people would connect it with the Oakfords.
So he named it after his aunt, Charlotte. The Benjamin Franklin Bridge was not yet built over the Delaware River, and Philadelphia, where Charlotte lived, was practically a world away from his Camden County shop.
Now under its third generation of ownership, Aunt Charlotte’s Candies just weathered its busiest holiday season in memory. And this year, it will celebrate its 100th birthday, a milestone that seems unfathomable for a brick-and-mortar retailer in the 21st century.