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Our history

Originally, founded by Italian immigrant Salvator Velati from Turin, Velatis opened their first store in the city of Richmond, Virginia in the 1850s.The first Velatis candy shop was burnt to the ground just prior to the end of the Civil War when General Grant took Richmond. In 1866, Velatis moved to Washington, D.C. and reopened for business at 620 9th Street NW. Imagine hoop-skirted ladies and gentlemen in high collars traveling by carriage or streetcar to pick up their sweet treats. Velatis soon became an established tradition for Washingtonians with a little bit of pocket change and a sweet tooth.


In the early 70's, construction on the Washington Metro Rail System destroyed the foundation of the original shop at 620 9th Street NW, where Velatis had stood for 106 years. Velatis closed it's doors and sold the trademark and secret recipes to the Woodward & Lothrop, Co. where the caramels were made in their kitchens and carried at their in-store candy counters at the holidays, throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, until 1995 when Woodward & Lothrop, Co. went out of business. In 1996, the trademark and Velatis' candy recipes were sold by the J.C. Penney Corporation that had purchased all Woodward & Lothrop, Co. assets and they began to sell off portions of their purchase.


The Servais family, sixth-generation Washingtonians, where among the many bidders for the Velatis trademark and secret recipes. Amy Servais a successful marketing and retail sales executive, with a deep abiding love of all things candy (especially Velatis caramels), dreamed of opening her own candy shop one day. She had heard of the sale and began making inquiries. Convincing her family to invest, they successfully won the bid to buy their beloved caramel treats, and took ownership. Amy immediately, began experimenting with the recipes and learned, by trial and error, how to adapt the recipes modern-day systems, while still using copper pots and traditional cooking techniques. Using only the finest and freshest ingredients without chemical additives or preservatives, she finally, perfected making, and hand-cutting the caramels in the honored tradition of making a quality product. Velatis successfully, launched the on-line Velatis business from Tampa, Florida with the goal to return to the DC area. As the business grew Velatis moved to a kitchen located just outside Richmond to supply the growing internet and a retail location at the Bethesda, Maryland, Women's Farm Market selling to the local community. As the caramels grew in popularity and were re-discovered by locals, Velatis opened the candy shop and kitchen at 8408B Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland in 2009.


Our customers from all over the Washington, D.C. Metro Area come in to shop, and buy the treats that evoke such sweet memories, and regale us with stories of visiting the original store at 9th street as children, with their parents (at left: a customer with her father and a box of Velatis under her arm circa 1930/ she visits us in the store still today!), grandparents, and sometimes even great-grandparents, to purchase the caramels to give as gifts to lucky friends and relatives for the holidays or special occasions. Today, our customers satisfy their craving for our old European style caramels and have found new and wonderful confections, such as handcrafted Belgian chocolates, toffee, caramel popcorn, and more treats to discover and delight their senses.


Velatis world famous caramels make distinguished gifts and have been enjoyed for generations by Washingtonians, world travelers, Presidents, movie stars and everyone in between. Mrs. Woodrow Wilson wife of the 28th President of the United States, actors Kim Novak, and Rip Taylor, and writer/producer Oliver Stone are some of the famous names who have enjoyed our caramels.


Today, we ship all over the world to lovers of fine caramels everywhere.