Linda Mumma reporting

OAKDALE (CBS13) — A sweet celebration for a candy company in the “Cowboy Capital of the World.”

Sconza Chocolates is celebrating their ten year anniversary this holiday season in the Stanislaus County Community of Oakdale. CBS13’s Linda Mumma got an exclusive tour of the factory and learned how the business plans to expand in the new year.

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It was a bittersweet beginning for the candy company in 2008. CEO Ron Sconza said they were in the process of engineering the design of their plant when the plans were leaked to the press.

And when Hershey’s moved its operations to Mexico that same year, it left a bad taste in the mouths of hundreds of Oakdale residents who suddenly lost their jobs.

But now, the sentiment toward candy production has seemingly changed.

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“They’re in Raley’s, they’re in SaveMarts. They’re super community oriented as far as donations for our high schools,” said Oakdale resident Leesa Seese.

As the then Oakland-based Sconza settled into Stanislaus County, they hired about 25 percent of the 600 or so laid-off workers and have had steady growth over the last decade.

“It has transformed our business,” Sconza said. “We’ve been tripled in size since we’ve moved out here. We’ve grown our employee base by more than 50 percent.”

When the 500,000 square foot factory on Yosemite Boulevard became available, Sconza said he immediately knew it would become home.

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“We came out, walked through on a Monday, and by Wednesday night we had the plant under contract,” Sconza said.

Since then, Sconza claims the company has gone from confection to perfection.

“We’re a company that coats nuts, fruits, we coat cookies, soon we will be coating caramel,” Sconza said.

They’re using innovative equipment and new technology to cover ingredients grown in the valley including almonds and raisins.

With a variety of chocolate and sugar-panned coatings, it packages and ships all over the world.

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“Sconza has a brand which we are very excited about, but the majority of our business is actually making products for other companies,” he said.

The company now employs about 200 people and plans to expand in the new year. They will be adding a caramel operation and hiring more people, Sconza said.

“We just like to say candy is happiness you can hold an that happens here in Oakdale,” he said.

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Sconza will soon celebrate another major milestone, it’s 80th year as a family-run business in Northern California.