Community History – Covington – Papas Candy Company

The Papas Candy Company was established by Chris A. Papas (1894-1984), a Greek immigrant from Macedonia. Papas, born on January 7, 1894, immigrated to the United States in 1909. Initially, he settled in Pittsburgh. Within a brief period of time, however, he moved to Cincinnati. On September 10, 1917, Papas married Lillian Niederhelman (1899-1986). The couple had five children: Katherine, Alex, Gloria, Rita and Joyce.

In 1935, Papas opened his candy making company to Covington. The store was located on Madison Avenue was named Lily’s in honor of his wife. Lily’s offered hand made chocolates, ice cream and a soda fountain.

In about 1950, the candy making operation was relocated to a new building at 921 Baker Street in Lewisburg. The building was located on the site of the Lewisburg Brewery. In August 1951, Chris A. Papas retired. His daughter, Katherine Papas Hartmann took over the operation of Lily’s. His son, Alex, took over the wholesale business on Baker Street which he named Chris A. Papas and Sons. Papas and Sons quickly became know for its dark chocolate Easter eggs, opera creams and marshmallow eggs.

Alex Papas retired from the business in 1986. His two sons, Carl and Chris, took over the operation as president and vice president respectively. Katherine Papas Hartmann and her husband, Norbert, operated Lily’s Candies until 1987. At that time, the business was sold to the Chris A. Papas and Sons Company. The company continues to produce candy under both the Papas and Lily’s labels.

The company is perhaps best known for its Easter candy. Beginning in late December and early January each year, the staff begins working on the production of Easter eggs. During peak production, the company can produce 80,000 eggs per day.

Kentucky Post, May 23, 1984, p. 1B, May 26, 1986, p. 8k, April 19, 2000, p. 10K, April 3, 1993, p. 7B, January 7, 1992, p. 10K; Cincinnati Enquirer, March 27, 2002. 

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