Phillips Candy House turtles are one of Oprah’s favorite things
Oprah Winfrey declared its popular turtles one of her “favorite things” for 2015.
“It’s very exciting,” said Store Manager Mary Ann Nagle, whose grandparents started the company in 1925.
Nagle got word over the summer that Oprah was interested in the chocolate and nut confections for her famous list. Nagle was then asked to send a large basket of turtles by courier to New York City for Oprah to examine and have photographed, she said. She was sworn to secrecy as Oprah deliberated. At the end of October, Nagle received word that Phillips Candy House made the list.
Nagle then sprang into action, because when Oprah broadcasts your company to the world, you’d better be ready.
“We literally started making chocolate baskets and stockpiling them,” said Nagle.
Nagle designated three rooms at the family’s hotel — Phillips Family Hospitality also owns the adjacent Ramada and Comfort Inns — for turtle basket assembly, due to limited room at the candy store.
Oprah’s site links out to the company’s website and offers a 20 percent discount when customers use the code OPRAH, so the company has seen increased website traffic and an increase in orders since Oprah’s list went public, said Nagle. The candy shop has doubled its usual output of 400 pounds of turtles per week, said Nagle. She has hired an extra person to handle the Oprah-related orders.
Oprah’s nod comes during a special year for the candy shop, which marked its 90th anniversary in 2015. The store is no stranger to celebrity clients — Dorchester’s Mark Wahlberg is a longtime fan who has ordered the chocolate from California. But when media giant Oprah writes on her website , “I’ve ordered the giant version [of the turtle baskets] for certain friends,” it’s a company’s dream.
“That’s quite an endorsement,” Nagle said.
Oprah is touting the $500 Giant Turtle Basket, comprised of 15 pounds of chocolate turtles in a 5-pound edible basket.
“That’s 20 pounds of chocolate, people!” wrote Oprah.
The company’s $90 Signature Turtle Basket was also featured.
The turtles are made from a secret recipe the family stores in a locked safe. It’s a recipe created by founder Phillip Strazzula — Nagle’s deceased grandfather — who crafted the first piece of chocolate in the basement of his Revere home 90 years ago. Today, eight out of 10 of Phillips customers order the turtles.
Oprah celebrated 87 “favorite things” this year, featuring everything from clothes to food to kitchen gadgets.