Community Service Award recipients Barry and Marcy Dobil

The little sign has been handed down for four generations and now sits on the desk of Barry Dobil, who owns Josh Early Candies, with his wife, Marcy. For the Dobils, their success in business and impact in the community, “boils down to simple truths lived.”

It says simply, “Trust in the Lord and do good works.”

“That’s it,” Mr. Dobil said. “It’s all right there.”

For the Dobils, their success in business and impact in the community, “boils down to simple truths lived.”

There are many reasons why the Dobils were selected to receive the Outstanding Community Service Award at the 2016 PICPA/LifePath Thanksgiving Luncheon held on November 23rd at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center. It is an honor long overdue for a couple whose generosity is legendary in the Lehigh Valley.

The Dobils have generated $200,000 over the years to the Women’s 5K Classic, which promotes fitness in women and funds research for female-related cancers. Their special pink-candied chocolate nonpareils are almost as ubiquitous as pink ribbons in the Lehigh Valley during breast cancer month.  
For each package of pink nonpareils sold at both Josh Early locations, the family donates the matching retail price to the Women’s 5K.

“Their generosity has certainly sweetened our contribution to the community,” said Loretta Dodson, the donation director for the race.

Paul Coleman, the CEO of LifePath, said the Dobils’ contribution to his organization is a true example of altruism.

“Marcy and Barry Dobil don’t ask for anything tangible back from their community support. They shy away from recognition.  That’s why I’m so happy they have agreed to receive this year’s Outstanding Community Service Award,” said Mr. Coleman, whose organization serves 1,400 adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in 100 group homes and three day program centers in seven Eastern Pennsylvania counties.

The Dobils have also been honored for their generosity to their employees. They are perennially at the top of Lehigh Valley’s “Top Workplaces” list and the longevity of their 56 employees speaks for itself. The average Josh Early worker has been with the company for 25 years, a great testament to workplace loyalty that runs both ways.

One of those employees is Bobby Ramos, whose special needs were embraced by the Dobils.

“Bobby changes the atmosphere.” Barry says.

“Everybody loves Bobby and he never misses a day of work. Sometimes he’ll just look at me and say, ‘Hey Boss, I love you.’”

Madge Ackerman is the oldest employee, having been with Josh Early since 1971.

“That’s one year longer than me,” Barry said.

Many employers talk about employees being part of the family. At Josh Early, there is ample evidence. Madge, for instance, was at the wedding of Barry and Marcy, who met in high school and have been together ever since!

The family atmosphere is apparent to the customer as soon as they open the door. Walking into Josh Early is like coming home for the holidays. The enticing smell of chocolate wafts through the air and there is an explosion of seasonal colors. Green and red at Christmas, the pastels of Easter, the black and orange of Halloween, all wrapped in foils and cellophane.

It invokes memories of childhood; a festive place of Santas, bunnies and goblins.  It is a warm place, as old-fashioned as the bygone downtown lunch counter or corner soda store. But Josh Early Candy is still going strong, built on a foundation of simple but lasting values, like cleanliness.

“You can eat off the floor here,” said Madge, who heads up the white glove cleaning initiatives.

The company was started in 1900 by Josh Early III, a wholesale chocolatier. His son, Josh Early IV, opened the first retail shop in Reading, Pa., called Early’s Old Fashioned Chocolates.

Not much has changed as Josh Early Candies is now beginning its 5th generation. The family still uses many of the original recipes -- and the company values of caring for their employees and their community are as “old-fashioned” as the universally-loved chocolates they make.

The annual LifePath luncheon assists LifePath in raising awareness of the needs of individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. Last year’s luncheon was attended by 700 guests and raised more than $60,000 to support LifePath’s programs and services, which include residential and day programs, vocational training, respite care, life sharing and supported living, outpatient mental health services, early intervention and a dedicated pediatric care facility.

For interview opportunities, questions about sponsorships or tickets to the event, please contact LifePath Development Director Annette Kaiser at 484-893-5539, or email