Theodore Roosevelt was in the middle of his second term of office as President of the United States in 1906 when a penniless yet enterprising man arrived in Laconia from Merrimack to take a job at a local downtown candy store. Within a year, this man, Otto Keller, owned the business, and 105 years after Otto Keller first arrived in Laconia, Kellerhaus (now located in Weirs Beach) is still going strong and enjoys the reputation of being one of the finest homemade candy and ice cream shops in the country.
In recognition of Kellerhaus’ 105th anniversary, owners Mary Ellen and David Dutton, who use many of Otto Keller’s original candy recipes, candy-making techniques, and equipment, are planning to have a number of specials and special events throughout the summer.
The celebration was started with a 105th Birthday Bash Weekend held May 20 -21, featuring free balloons, gift raffles and other prizes, free samples, and a chance to win a $105 Kellerhaus gift certificate, for which a drawing will be held on Memorial Day. The weekend also featured a cake and ice cream social for former Kellerhaus employees, friends, and acquaintances as well as the community as a whole.
For Mary Ellen Dutton the anniversary celebration is yet another way to share the delicious confections made at Kellerhaus with the community, and one on-going special offered to customers for this year is a free, two-scoop ice cream sundae given to you on your birthday.
“In honor of our 105th, we are returning to an old tradition,” says Mary Ellen. “A gentleman recently told me that one of his favorite memories growing up in Laconia was waiting for his birthday, because he would get a free sundae on his birthday at Keller’s. So this year, we are celebrating our birthday by celebrating yours – come in on your birthday and receive a free two-scoop sundae at the Make Your Own Sundae Smorgasbord!”
At Kellerhaus, where you can already find over 101 different varieties of candy, chocolates, and fudge, the Duttons are planning to almost double the selection in the near future, which should be hard for sweet-toothed customers to resist.
“We make over 101 different candies, chocolates, and fudge from the original Keller recipes, but we are planning to add over 100 new, nostalgic and imported candies to our current selection,” says Mary Ellen. “We will be adding more fudge flavors to our selection as well. Since our candy room area is pretty massive, we figured we could do a better job of filling it up with even more unique candies and confections.
“It is another way to honor our roots as a candy store,” Mary Ellen adds. “It is kind of neat that a Laconia neighborhood candy store that started over 105 years ago and moved to “The Weirs” 45 years ago is still flourishing today.”
It was when Kellerhaus relocated to Weirs Beach that a gift shop was added to the store. Today you can find gifts for just about anybody, for just about any occasion in several different rooms at Kellerhaus, including a baby room, a candy room, a holiday room with ornaments and decorations, a card and candle room, a toy room, a room featuring women’s accessories, the room referred to as the Senator’s Room, and a room specifically catering to gifts for men. “We work hard to have unique gifts for customers,” says Mary Ellen. “We feature good quality and good value.”
And of course you can always sit back and enjoy award-winning homemade ice cream in the large buffet dining area, or indulge in a waffle breakfast on weekends from 8 am until noon. Kellerhaus also plans to continue the $1 per scoop ice cream cones special on Wednesdays.
Although candy and ice cream are the most popular edible purchases, you can also find a variety of other tasty products, including jams, relishes, and jellies; aged cheddar cheeses,nuts, and maple products, such as maple syrup, maple sugar candy, and maple mustard. Kellerhaus also has a selection of sugar free candy. During the Christmas holiday season, ribbon candy is still a much sought-after gift selection, and Kellerhaus is the only place in New Hampshire (and one of the few in the country) to make it paper-thin and by hand.
If you can’t visit Kellerhaus in person, you can order most of their products online, including standard and custom-designed gift baskets for any occasion. Kellerhaus ships world-wide.
Kellerhaus is open daily from 10 am until 6 pm. (except for Tuesdays) and is located on Route 3 in Weirs Beach. For more information, call 1-888-KLR-HAUS (1-888-557-4287) or log on to www.kellerhaus.com.