History of Bursts Candies

1938. Lean, tough times in Corvallis. What could a man do to make a living? Rhea Burst, a long-time resident of Corvallis, said to her husband, Charlie, "What we could use in this town is a handmade chocolate shop." So what did they do? The Bursts decided to try what many only dream of: to make a living making chocolate. Three months later, Burst’s Candies opened its door on the first floor of a brand new building at 353 SW Madison Avenue in Corvallis, Oregon.

Charlie worked in a small kitchen in the back of the store, creating handmade candies and tempering his chocolate on a marble slab. Rhea worked the front of the store, selling chocolates and candies to families looking for high quality, special treats they could afford in these difficult times. From the beginning, Charlie and Rhea believed "any kid with a penny in their pocket should be able to come in and get a piece of candy." The Burst’s tradition of quality and value had begun. Not having children to pass the business on to, Charlie and Rhea sold their dream and legacy to Ralph Batmen in 1957. From his first day in the shop, Ralph continued the Burst’s tradition of producing the highest quality chocolates and, as he did, the business thrived. Through the 1960s, the Burst’s reputation for excellence grew throughout the Willamette Valley. Then, fifteen years after taking over from the Bursts, Ralph Batmen decided to retire as well, and sold the business to Don and Rosemary Burck in 1972.

Then came the early 1980s and recession. The Oregon economy took a turn for the worse. Through hard work and devotion to the legacy of Burst’s Candies, Don made sure that Burst’s weathered the downturn.

Harkening back to Charlie and Rhea’s original commitment, Don kept his quality high and his prices affordable so second and third-generation customers could continue to enjoy a special "treat" in these very difficult times. Enter yours truly, Chip Magee. As Burst’s success ebbed and flowed in the 1970s and 80s, I was growing up just down the road from Corvallis. I was the first child in a family with a legacy of chefs and a love of good food. So it was no wonder I grew early on to love the fine chocolates and candies of Burst’s.

After graduating from Oregon State University, I lived abroad for three years and learned the art of cooking. I, then, moved back to Corvallis in 1996—just for one year—with the intent of returning to Europe to continue my career. While in Corvallis and needing work, I remembered how much I enjoyed my experiences — and the chocolates — at Burst’s as I was growing up. After introducing myself to Don Burck, I was hired on the spot for a dream job, working as a confectioner in the kitchen of Burst’s Candies! As the end of my "year" in Corvallis grew closer, my desire for a life in Europe seemed farther and farther away.

Sensing this change, and knowing I would be up to the challenge of carrying on the traditions that Ralph Batmen and Charlie and Rhea Burst had worked so hard to build and sustain, Don Burck offered to sell me the business, to let me own and become part of the legacy of Burst’s Candies.

It has been a wonderful, challenging, and rewarding ten years! And it is my pleasure to share with you not only this 70-year history of chocolate making at Burst’s, but also my commitment to manufacturing premium, luxury chocolates. For nearly four generations, Burst’s Chocolates have sweetened lives in Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley. Handcrafted in small batches with exacting care, our confections combine locally grown and produced specialties with quality ingredients collected from around the world. The result: the best bite you’ll ever savor!