Snacks n’at: Yetter’s in Millvale
For nearly 65 years, Yetter’s in Millvale has been serving up ice-cream treats and handmade candies six days a week.
“That’s a lot of milkshakes,” says Arlene Carr, who owns and runs the business with her husband, Ed.
The Grant Street store has been part of Carr’s life since her dad, Elmer Yetter, took it over in 1950.
Little appears to have changed since then. The old booths and their red-padded leather seats were replaced with orange Formica seating after the 2004 flood roared through the store.
It took four years for the Yetters to return to business.
But aside from new lighting, the store looks almost exactly the way it did when Baby Boomers stopped by for sodas and penny candy in the ’50s and ’60s.
A new glass-fronted refrigerated case that stocks deli items such as chipped ham and Swiss cheese sits exactly where the last one did, and the red vinyl and metal stools that flank the counter of the soda fountain are replicas of the originals. The wall menus still spell out offerings in individual white letters set into red signboards.
“The biggest change is that we don’t make ice cream anymore,” Arlene says. “But we found a (supplier with) good-grade ice cream that we were satisfied with.”
Customers can choose from 18 flavors of ice cream, as well as 18 flavors of Hawaiian shaved ice.
Ice-cream flavors range from the old standards — vanilla, chocolate and strawberry — to contemporary choices such as birthday cake and moose tracks. The most popular flavors are mint chocolate chip and chocolate marshmallow.
And while today’s younger buyers don’t order as many vanilla milkshakes or cherry Cokes as they used to, the store sells a lot of ice-cream sodas ($4.50). “People seem to come in for that,” she says. “Chocolate is the best (selling) one or strawberry or pineapple.”
Ice-cream cones ($2.70) are also popular as are Hot Fudge Sundaes ($4.50).
There’s a huge selection of brand-name candy bars, Swedish Fish and Gummy Bears.
What most customers make the trip for though is Yetter’s handmade candies. “It’s what we’re known for,” she says.
Their peanut brittle ($12.95 a pound) is a fall favorite.
But it’s not just seasonal items such as chocolate bunnies at Easter and Santas for Christmas that draw customers. The store does a year-round business in longtime traditional candies — peanut butter meltaways, dark chocolate coconut clusters and chocolate-covered cherries — in store and through the mail.
“Turtles (pecans thickly covered with milk chocolate) are by far the most popular,” she says.
The store also offers trendier choices such as chocolate-covered potato chips ($16.75 for 12 ounces) and salted caramels ($25 a pound).
Truffles, coconut clusters or chocolates filled with cherries or nuts are $25 per pound and a box of assorted chocolates is priced at $23.
But any of the candies are also sold by weight in smaller quantities, even if it’s only a single pretzel or marshmallow patty covered in chocolate.
At the moment, the Carrs have no intention of retiring. But they have begun planning for the future.
Recently, their son Jeffrey moved back after living in California to help with the business.
They’re hoping he will keep the business running for another generation to enjoy.
Yetter’s Homemade Ice Cream & Candies, 504 Grant Ave., Millvale, is open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. 412-821-1387 or yetterscandies.com