"The Candy with the College Education"


Liberally endowed with resourcefulness and inborn ability coupled with untiring energy and industry, Ernest Wilson is a conspicuous and interesting person, and an outstanding figure in the business life of California. He is a native of Salem, Ore where he was born August 4, 1876. His brother, Herbert, the secretary and treasurer of the Ernest Wilson Company was also born there on July 17, 1870. The father, Thomas Howard Wilson, was born in Tennessee and came to Oregon via the Isthmus of Panama at an early day and settled in Salem, where he followed farming pursuits and married Miss Matilda Frances Melson. He passed away, but the mother still lives in Palo Alto.

Ernest began his education in the public schools of Salem, Ore., and later entered the preparatory department of Willamette University, and upon his graduation from that institution came to Palo Alto and entered Stanford in the fall of 1896. There was a little candy store on the campus owned by a couple of students, and here the newcomer found work during his freshman year. He bought a half-interest at the end of the semester, and soon became sole owner. As he studied and worked, he made friends with everybody, and on account of his popularity and sticktoitiveness, soon became familiarly known as "Sticky" Wilson, an appellation which will likely always remain with him. As "Sticky" Wilson stuck to Stanford, so the name stuck to "Sticky" and has become a fixture in the college town.

The four years passed; a new century dawned--and brought with it the graduation of the student-confectioner with the class of 1900.

To the members of this class, as to countless classes before it, the professions beckoned to some, adventure whispered to a few, while many drifted out groping, aimless and undecided. But Sticky's mind was made up. He had been attending two kinds of classrooms during his college career; one in the imposing buildings around the Quad, and another in the little store on the campus. His life work was to be the making of good candy and the serving of good food.

In order to gain a thorough knowledge of his chosen work, he went to San Francisco, where he began at the bottom as an employee of a large candy manufacturer, and continued there for a space of about a year, having in the meantime disposed of his candy store of Stanford campus. Another year passed and Sticky returned to the little town where he had spent his college days and reopened a candy shop in Palo Alto; this was the year 1902. It prospered, for the students were glad to patronize a place so clean and attractive. To "Sticky's" came the youthful swain for sweets to woo his co-ed fair. The happy ending of a romantic college courtship of a certain talented young suitor culminated by his presentation to his charming co-ed sweetheart a choice box from Wilson's, labeled in his own handwriting. "The Candy with a College Education," and by so doing at once won a sweetheart and inspired the adoption of that slogan for Wilson's products.

From the first tiny shop has grown a large corporation operating five of the finest stores in the state, each with its own model kitchen, dining room and parlor, namely at Fresno, San Jose, Turlock, Stanford and Palo Alto. The Ernest Wilson Company is incorporated with a capital stock of $250, 000. Some of the stockholders are prosperous Stanford graduates, who first watched the business grow during their own years in college. Sanitation, convenience, and comfort and elegance characterize each store, which has its own manager, and according to the policies of the Ernest Wilson Company, the managers are recruited from the ranks of the employees, and it has never been necessary to go outside for efficient heads. The Ernest Wilson Company specializes in chocolates with distinctive names such as "University," "Co-Ed," Leland Stanford," "College Maid," and "Wilson's Clods." Its products are wholesaled as well as retailed. Every one of Wilson's stores is fully up-to-date and in keeping with the development of the city in which it is located, and in fact to "keep ahead of the town" is the well-established Wilson policy. Especially have patrons' comforts been considered--steam heat in winter--- and washed-air cooling system for summer -- and cuisiine delicuisineevery season. You are a guest rather than a patron when you visit Wilson's. Its simple home-like hospitality makes you feel thoroughly at ease. Whether it is for cooling drink or course dinner, you always feel welcome at Wilson's.

 He says:
"I have never tried to run a store like any one else. Originality is a big asset. To be original, one has one to think. If we make a chocolate that is particularly good, we have one of our salesladies demonstrate it in our store, giving samples to everyone. The success that I have had is due very largely to a corps of loyal employees. It has been my policy to give responsibility to heads of departments and demand results. I don't try to do all the work myself, but plan to get away from my business frequently, take plenty of outdoor exercise, and give someone else a chance to show that he can do the work better than I could." This spirit of live and let live practiced by Mr. Wilson has made the road to success easier and the satisfaction that it has brought can hardly be reckoned. Of a jovial disposition, Mr. Wilson makes friends wherever he goes and he is always ready to give of his time and energy to any good cause.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1244

OBITUARY FOR ERNEST WILSON- (courtesy of the Palo Alto Library Reference Desk)
Marcy 02, 1967
Palo Alto Times
Candy Man 'Sticky' Wilson dies
Tha man who invented "the candy with the college, education" Ernest (Sticky) Wilson died in San Francisco Wednesday at the age of 90- nearly 70 year after he opened his first candy store on the Stanford University campus.
He died at the Franklin Hospital in San Francisco and was buried after private funeral services were held.
"Sticky's" on the campus and later Wilson's Restaurand and Candies at 135 University Ave., were the spots where generations of Stanford and Palo Alto males escored their dates for sodas, peach melbas, banan splits, Cokes and sandwiches.
Mr. Wilson started his locally famous candy store in 1896 when be bought a half interest in Rice's candy store, located in a field under a tree between the Quad and Encina where the Stanford Library is now.
He enrolled at Stanford in 1896 after leaving his home town, Salem Ore., where he was born and grew up.
A year after opening the campus store he opened his Palo Alto store, which was first called the Spa after a store in his home town. In 1900 the year he was graduated from Stanford, he sold it, but bought it back two years later. By 1915 he had a wholesale candy-business known througout the state.
A Stanford coed, Ruth Taylor, created Co-Edna as a trademark for Sticky's "candy with the college education."
The Ernest Wilson Company employed 25 people in 1908 at a glace fruit factory, Hawthorne Avenue at High Street, and in 1912 took over a bakery at 205 University Ave.
Mr. Wilson had stores in Fresno, Stockton, San Jose, Sacramento, Oakland and San Francisco, in addition to the downtown Palo Alto restaurant and candy store. The downtow store was a Palo Alto Chamber of commerce meeting place and from 1947 until it closed on April 10, 1951.

It was the only downtown restaurant with large banquet rooms and a favorite meeting plave for service clubs and organizations.
Wilson's Restaurant and Candy Store went up for auction June 20, 1951.
Mr. Wilson remained active in his business until only a few years before his death. He had lived in San Franciso for the past 20 years with his wife, the former Marguerite Boughan(hard to read this last name)
On Aug 23, 1965 he returned to the Midpeninsula to celebrate his 89th birthday with his sons and their families. Howard Wilson of Atherton, Carl Wilson of Fullerton and seven granchildren, his only survivors.

OBITUARY FOR HOWARD WILSON- (courtesy of the Palo Alto Library Reference Desk)

Nov 18, 1982
Peninsula Times Tribune

Howard "Sticky" Wilson, who managed a candy factory and restaurant on High Street in Palo Alto died Nov 4 at his home in Redwood City. He was 78.
Mr. Wilson suffered from leukemia for th past two years.
He was a native of Palo Alto. The restaurant on High Street and University Avenue where he worked was established by his father in the early 1900s.
Mr. Wilson was a member of the first graduating class of Palo Alto High School. He later attended Stanford University.
In 1950, he joined Ace Delivery of the Peninsula, a Redwood City delivery service to drug and electronic firms on the Peninsula, His wife, Doris, assisted him with the business. He ran a courier servcie for title companis in San Mateo County from 1970 until his retirement in 1975. Mr. Wilson enjoyed fourmet cooking as a hobby. He also had been a member of the Starlighers, a Peninsula dance group, and enjoyed gardening.
He became the fist exalted ruler of the Palo ALto Elks Lodge in 1942, and he served as chairman of the City of Palo Alto's community center recreation committee in 1946.
Surviving are his wife of 33 years, Doris, three daughers, Candy Schlitzer of Redwood City, Judy Hulse of Woodside, and Margaret Olson of Modesto; two sons, Howard Wilson of Fremont and Gerry E Wilson of Oceanside; 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Memorial services will be Saturday at 11:am at the Elks Lodge, 4249 El Camino Real, Palo Alto.