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Heather Lynn’s Buckeyes brings unique twist to an Ohio favorite

Buckeye candies — peanut butter balls partially dipped in chocolate to resemble the nut on Ohio’s state tree — are a holiday favorite on any Ohio cookie tray. Heather DeLucia has added a unique twist to her buckeye candies: themed and holiday-shaped buckeyes. 

[EDITOR'S NOTE — Each week, this feature section, “Movers and Makers,” will feature the stories of the movers, launchers, entrepreneurs and makers who contribute to the vitality of the Mahoning Valley. This section is supported by our first community partner, Farmers National Bank.]

YOUNGSTOWN — During her college years, Youngstown native Heather DeLucia sold homemade buckeye candies and cookies to earn extra money. 

Twenty years later, she has evolved her passion into a buckeye empire in the Mahoning Valley. 

Buckeye candies — peanut butter balls partially dipped in chocolate to resemble the nut on Ohio’s state tree — are a holiday favorite on any Ohio cookie tray. But DeLucia has added a unique twist to her buckeye candies: themed and holiday-shaped buckeyes. 

According to DeLucia, before officially launching Heather Lynn’s Buckeyes, she primarily sold to family and friends for large events, like weddings and holidays. 

Six years ago she experienced some post-holiday blues when she stopped making orders. She missed making them and the relationships she’d built with her customers. So she decided to make heart-shaped buckeye candies for Valentine’s Day. 

“People were like, ‘Oh my god, I love them!’ So I'm like, ‘All right, I got something.’ So then I started shamrocks and eggs and graduation caps,” she said. 

While DeLucia still offers traditional round buckeye candies, she’s more known for decorative shapes that resemble cookie cutouts. Now, customers buy buckeyes for all occasions — Easter eggs, Christmas trees, Halloween pumpkins and more. Additionally, DeLucia creates custom orders for special occasions like graduations and weddings. 

“[I make] Ohio [shaped] ones that are stamped, and a lot of times people will want me to stamp them in different parts of the state, and they’ll send them to their loved ones in that area,” she said. 

Heather Lynn’s Buckeyes aren’t just eye-catching, but delicious as well, according to her collection of trophies and ribbons from local baking competitions. 

DeLucia said she’s perfected the recipe over time, and in 2020 she earned first place in the Mahoning Valley Historical Society’s Cookie Table and Cocktails competition for the second year in a row. 

Additionally, DeLucia has taken home top prizes the past five years from Mahoning Valley Historical Society’s Cookie Table and Cocktails Competition, Mahoning Valley Historical Society’s Professional Cookie Division Competition and Austintown Band’s Jazz & Dessert Contest. 

This holiday season, DeLucia has made thousands of buckeye candies. She told Mahoning Matters that she met up with 85 customers this past Friday to ensure they had their buckeyes before Christmas. 

Not only are Heather Lynn’s Buckeyes a sweet treat for a special occasion, as of lately, they’ve been lifting spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Business is up at least 40 percent from last year,” she said. “I thought for sure with [the COVID-19 pandemic], people would be like, ‘Ehhh.’ 

“Now I post 20 dozen and they're gone in like five minutes,” she said. 

“I know for sure people have been buying them to put on people’s porch. Somebody had bought like 15 dozen buckeyes [from] me and said that they were going to take them to the hospital,” she added. “Then I had one lady that had emailed me and said, ‘I know these came from you. I have no idea who put them on my porch.’ She had [COVID-19], so somebody was bringing them.” 

Heather Lynn’s Buckeyes are $8 a dozen for designed and stamped buckeye candies and $6 a dozen for traditional round buckeye candies. To place an order, reach DeLucia on her Facebook page, Heather Lynn’s Buckeyes

“I am super blessed and grateful for every single person that buys  — every single one of them. Like I always say, ‘Thank you. You know, I just don't take it for granted,’” she said.

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