Gems of candy honor West Virginia's coal heritage - Mercer County WV : Mercer County WV
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Gems of candy honor West Virginia’s coal heritage

August 2, 2019

Princeton restaurant serves candy and comfort food

Lisa Dawn Biermann is from a third generation coal mining family. Her great grandfather immigrated to Southern West Virginia from Czechoslovakia and went to work in the coal mines.

“West Virginia is all about coal,” says Biermann. “It is in our blood.”

Colorful chocolate candy on display

To honor coal heritage, Lisa started making her coal candies in 2014 at her kitchen table. The fresh, hard candy is packaged to look like chunks of “coal” in a mason jar and comes in flavors like bubblegum and butterscotch to watermelon and sour apple.

Things started slowly as she sold her candy door to door and at local shows, expos and events. Her big break came when her candy was juried into Tamarack. “Getting my candy into Tamarack was a dream come true. It really helped the popularity of my candy and helped jump start the business,” says Biermann. “It was an amazing feeling to see something I created for sale on their shelves.”

In 2016, she opened Coal Country Kandies in Princeton. The store’s popularity grew quickly and she soon realized that she needed more space to continue to grow the business. So in 2018, she moved to a larger space in the Historic District in Princeton and added a restaurant. Coal Country Kandies & Cafe features traditional, home-cooked meals like you would expect in a West Virginia home. Chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, cabbage rolls and daily homemade specials, all made from scratch.

A customer picks out homemade candy at the restaurant.

“The restaurant is really doing well and  we have received a lot of positive feedback from our customers,” Says Biermann. The store still sells a full array of candy, including homemade fudge, homemade candy, gift baskets and candy plates. In addition, it provides catering for birthday parties and other occasions.

Biermann hopes the success of her store will help stimulate more business growth in the historic district. This national historic district is highlighted by a beautiful railroad museum and other historic buildings all within walking distance of the main downtown. “Once they come, they love it,” says Biermann.

In addition to Coal Country Kandies & Cafe, you can find her delicious candy at Rural King, Tamarack, Stonewall Resort, Wheeling Center Market, Pipestem Resort, Lost World Caverns and several other locations in West Virginia.

Never one to relax or rest on her laurels, Biermann wants to add up to 20 new candy options this year. “My passion is creating. I am always pushing to do more,” says Biermann. Her long-term dream is to have her products in all fifty states. Based on her rapid growth since 2014, don’t bet against her realizing her dream.

Coal Country Kandies & Cafe is open Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and open till 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The cafe is located right across the street from the railroad museum at 301 Mercer street in downtown Princeton.

This post was last updated on August 5, 2019


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