When it comes to Historic Folsom, Snooks Chocolate Factory has been one of the district’s most popular retail destinations for decades as locals and travelers alike patronize the family-owned business, whether it’s to enjoy a sweet treat or purchase that edible gift to celebrate a special occasion or family milestone. Now, the Snook family is ready celebrate their own milestone with a very special 60th Anniversary Party in just a few short weeks.

Slated for September 15, the celebration welcome’s the public to Historic Folsom for a number of activities, all of which will culminate with a benefit concert for ticketholders in the Zittel Family Amphitheater. The concert will feature the music of the CC Seger Band and provide guests with seating along with a complimentary glass of wine, beer or a non-alcoholic beverage. 


This 6-piece band gives a high-energy live performance of two amazing tribute bands in one.  They take audiences on a ride through the rock and roll classics of Bob Seger as well as Creedence Clear Water Revival, that drives crowds of all ages to the dance floor. The band was chosen by Snook, who felt the genre of music was a perfect fit that matched the music that was very popular at the time their family business really began to grow in the community and overall success.

Proceeds from the concert portion of the celebration that is $30 per person, will benefit the Historic Folsom Train Depot freight room renovation project, which will become the Peter T. Lewis Greenroom once complete. The benefit concert addition of the celebration is the brainchild of Jim and Renee Snook, as a way to celebrate with the community and give back to the Historic District that has been so good to them over the years. During intermission, the Snook family will be presenting a collection of great raffle prizes and sharing many special stories with the community.


Prior to the benefit concert, the anniversary event is slated to begin at 6 p.m. on Sept. 15 outside of Snooks Chocolate Factory at 731 Sutter Street for an official ribbon cutting with the Folsom Chamber of Commerce and Choose to celebrate the milestone. The ribbon cutting portion of the celebration is free to the public and the 700 block of Sutter Street will be closed to traffic as part of the ongoing promenade, so there will be plenty of room to mix and mingle with the community for this special celebration, a ceremony that Snook has long been looking forward to. 

“When we first opened, they didn’t really do ribbon cuttings like they do now, unless you did your own thing,” said Snook. “So now we are going to finally do our ribbon cutting, 60 years later.”


The Snooks, along with the Folsom Historic District Association is inviting the community to come out and celebrate this special milestone on Sept. 15. Reservations are not needed for the ribbon cutting part of the event at the store, however, those wishing to attend the concert can purchase a ticket for $30 online, VISIT THE TICKET PURCHASE LINK HERE.

John Snook serves the Maid of California at the California State Fair, where he set up shop at the California State Fair.

Snooks history is as rich as their chocolates

Snooks Candies and Chocolate Factory was originally established in 1963 as Country Candies by the late John and Jeannine Snook.  The candy shop was located at the Arden Fair Food Circus in the heart of the city’s Arden area. Through the years, their children began becoming a part of the candy making business. 

In 1975 Jim started to learn the Confectionery Craft and later his older brother Jeff joined the company. John sold real estate for a few years until the market downturn. In 1980 they changed the name to Snook’s Candies.  John and Jeannine with the help of daughter Julie opened a store in Tahoe City in 1981 and eventually sold it 18 years later in 1999. 


It was the Arden store that brought Jim and Renee, Folsom’s true “candy couple” together. The couple loves to tell the story of how they met and fell in love and how chocolate was a big part of it. 

It all happened back in 1982, Renee had to visit a local department store to make an exchange. At the same time, Jim Snook was working at his parents’ candy store, stretching out the peanut brittle just inside the front window like he did on a regular basis. 

“He had his name tag on his shirt, so I said, ‘Hi Jim, it looks hot back there.’ I didn’t even know what I was doing but my feet weren’t moving!” is how Renee describes their meeting time and time again. “He asked what my name was, so I told him. Then I got my bread and left.”

Every Saturday after that, Renee would see Jim working at the candy store when she was shopping. One time, he decided to get her number. “He yelled my name and came running after me,” she said. “I said, ‘Yes, Jim, what can I do for you?’ That’s how it all began.” 

With the lease at Food Circus nearing its end and the new landowners planning to demolish and rebuild the site, the family opened a new business in Historic Folsom below what was then the Hacienda Restaurant March in 1985. John knew the owners of the Hacienda Restaurant who lived in Tahoe City and they had recently purchased the building in Historic Folsom and were seeking tenants. It was then that the Snook’s name officially became a part of the Folsom community.

In 1999 after John and Jeannine sold the Tahoe City location and looked forward to retirement. Jim and Renee Snook purchased their shares of the company and in 2002 moved the business to its current home on Sutter Street. The move is something that took the business to the next level. Not only was it located on a premier corner of the Sutter Street, it also made it possible for visitors to actually watch all those chocolaty goodies being made.

The Snook family legacy began in 1963 when John and Jeanine Snook opened Country Candies in the Arden Food Circus.

“Producing our product on view to the public is in our business model to provide an experience. You don’t need to buy anything to walk away with the feeling that this was a unique place,” Jim explained. “That does bring its challenges, manufacturing in a prime retail location. We have much of the space dedicated to production which normally would be done in a more industrial location.”

Since the move, the Snooks have been very involved in Historic District, participating in countless community events year after year. Additionally, Jim has served on the board of the Folsom Historic District Association and is the current board president. It’s just one example of how he follows the family motto of working hard and being open for their community.

“Renee and I have always tried to bring vibrancy to the district. We always committed to regular hours 7 days a week. But our move to the current location in 2002 seemed to have spurred some much-needed attention to the Historic District. We can’t imagine a better place to be than where we are right now.”

Back in June of this year, the original “Candy Man” John Snook passed away at the age of 91. Up until is passing, John still visited the store almost daily, running errands or making a delivery. Sometimes he just enjoyed sitting on a bench or at a table and talking to folks, sharing stories and chatting. 

Today, the business carries on with 3rd and fourth generations making confections on a daily basis using the lessons originally taught by John Snook and combining those early day techniques with innovation to be a continued success. The business is one of Folsom’s true gems, being it’s turning 60 next month it is undoubtedly a diamond that continues to shine in the community. 

To learn more about the upcoming celebration, VISIT THE EVENT LINK BY CLICKING HERE.

Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan

Bill Sullivan has over 25 years of professional journalism and content creation experience in which he has earned 37 professional awards. He is the co-founder/publisher of Folsom Times an All Town Media LLC product.