Gertrude Hawk's American Dream Became a Family Heirloom
In 1936, at the height of the Great Depression, Gertrude felt she could put her knowledge and love for the art of chocolate making toward beginning her own business. By this time she had married Elmer Hawk and had two sons, Elmer R. and Richard. Her husband was a cars salesman and Gertrude was looking to make a little extra money for her family. And so began Gertrude Hawk Chocolates that year in the kitchen of her family’s small home in the Bunker Hill section of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Elmer and Louise, now with four children, learned in 1959 that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation would be taking Gertrude Hawk’s home on Mark Avenue in Scranton for the construction of Interstate 81. Elmer began searching for a suitable location for the business and for his parents to live. At this point, the business was grossing six-digits a year and would benefit from the expansion. Eventually they found a piece of land less than three miles away off of the newly constructed Interstate 81 on Drinker Street in Dunmore, Pennsylvania. A new building was built that included a factory, retail shop and restaurant. The factory began production in 1962, with the retail store and restaurant opening in 1963. “When we moved from Mark Avenue to Drinker Street, that’s when I knew we were going to succeed,” said Elmer.