The chocolate shop originally opened in March 2002.
Maxwells Chocolates and Ice Cream Shoppe is a small, old-fashioned sweet shop nestled in the heart of picturesque Hamilton, NY. Like many of the other businesses in the area, our storefront is a part of a greater building rich with history.
After the Great Fire of 1895, which distorted much of downtown Hamilton, Mr. M. F. Maxwell re-constructed the Hotel Maxwell building. A marvelously modern establishment at the time, the new Hotel Maxwell consisted of 20 guest rooms/suites, a luxurious office, a reading room, a restaurant, and a guest dining room (the door of which is still in Maxwells Chocolates). The hotel was remarkable for being outfitted with the brand new invention of electricity. It also had hot water on demand, plumbing, heat, and even an electric bell system. All of these features were the epitome of high technology during the era. Contemporaries of Mr. M. F. Maxwell were amazed at the intricate details of his hotel. They remarked on the beautiful oak woodwork, the “Neer Gager” steel ceilings, and the fine furnishings. Mr. Maxwell’s hotel was a wonder as was the man himself. Guests proclaimed him a grand host and an admirable manager full of vigor. He had a pleasant personality, a trait that undoubtedly attracted businessmen as well as families to stay at his hospitable hotel.
Despite the fact that the Hotel Maxwell is no longer in business, Mr. Maxwell with his energetic spirit is remembered. Our store was named in honor of his famous hotel and to this day, customers come into the shoppe asking where they can check in to the hotel. They are often disappointed to hear that it only a fond memory.
Over the years since the absence of the Hotel Maxwell (which was later re-named the Hotel Hamilton), the Maxwell building has been a location for offices and various different small businesses. In the 1980s, Edward K. Vantine used it for offices and rented the upper floors as apartments.
Finally, in 2001, in an effort to revitalize the downtown Hamilton area with the help of the Hamilton Initiative, the space was renovated into what is currently our old-fashioned candy shoppe by Scott Powell and Phil Scholl. Maxwells Chocolates and Ice Cream officially opened to the public on March 8, 2002. As Scott Powell recalls, “there were lines around the block.” The older generation of the town certainly found the new candy store a nostalgic dream come true as they remembered the “Sugar Bowl” located on Broad Street during the 1920s and 1930s. Like the “Sugar Bowl” before it, Maxwells offers a selection of ice creams with an old fashion soda parlor atmosphere and a wonderful array of chocolates and candies. It seems applicable to apply the “Sugar Bowl’s” famous ad slogan to Maxwells as well: “No dentistry necessary, Let us fill that sweet tooth!”
The Drahos family was next to run the shop when Patricia Drahos purchased the store in 2005. Pat loved running the business for 13 years, until June of 2018 when she decided to retire a second time (her first career was in education) and join her husband in full-time retirement.
Today, Maxwells is owned and operated by Jennifer Jury and her husband Kristopher. A native to upstate NY, Jennifer moved back to the area in June of 2018 after nearly 23 years in southern Vermont. While her primary career was in marketing and communications, a love of baking and confections prompted her to leave the corporate world and dedicate her time to beginning an at-home baking business. After nearly 5 years of sweet success the opportunity to move back home and take the reigns at Maxwells presented itself. The stars had aligned and she is now enjoying bringing her sweet creations to Hamilton and the surrounding communities.
So stop in and “take a step back in time”. The history of Maxwells is alive and well and while most of the store is just the same as it was in 2001, we’ve added a whole new level of homemade sweetness. See you soon!