Bon Bons has been located in Huntington Village since 1979, but the Meinersman family had no part in the business until Alice Meinersman (Susannah's mother) saw a Bon Bons newspaper ad in 1984 searching for a chocolate dipper. "My mother always loved to cook and bake and garden, all those things. She took a couple flower arranging courses, but nobody would hire her because she didn't have any experience. One of those Catch-22's," says Susannah. "The first time my mother tried dipping she was so nervous her hand was shaking. But the woman there said she reminded her of a friend from the old country so she was very patient with her."
That patience evidently paid off because four and a half years later the Meinersmans took over the business. The family overhauled the recipes, streamlined some of the production and tweaked just about everything. "I went to school for advertising, design and photography at Syracuse," says Alice. "I would come home on break and they were so busy they would basically pick me up at the airport and drive me directly to the store to help out." After graduating, Susannah worked as a food stylist, but quickly felt the calling to help out with the family business. "Food styling is all artifice as opposed to the realness of owning your own business. You'd spend days on a photo shoot gluing sesame seeds to a hamburger bun - literally 10-12 hour exhausting days - and then Burger King would just decide not to run the ad," says Susannah. "It just seemed so meaningless compared to the realness of my parents business which was making a product, making it well and selling it. There's a great satisfaction that people come in really wanting the product and they leave happy and they come back for more. There's just something really solid about that."
Bon Bons was on such solid footing that in 1996 they had to move out of their 1,300 square foot location (located on New York Avenue) into their current 3,600 square foot residence on Main Street. There through the window, you can actually see firsthand chocolates being handcrafted fresh on a daily basis. Currently Bon Bons produces 50!!! different centers for their chocolate in addition to seasonal offerings like their Passion Fruit Truffle made with actual Passion Fruit pulp. "I'm really proud of the fact that we can keep doing what we're doing. Especially on the level that we're doing it," says Susannah. The fact that we do creams, hand piped mints that are covered in chocolate, caramels, all the standard fare. But also the fact that we can do all those and still innovate and make truffles and make new products."
"It's a grueling business because it's very holiday driven, but it's a labor of love. We love being in Huntington Village. It's a very food happy town and we have great customers who are very supportive. We feel like it's one of the premier spots, but in a way it's nice that it's not a tourist town. It's a real town, where people live and we love giving them some excitement."