If you're a fan of the chocolate bars from Lily's Sweets - and the sugar-free, organic candy has plenty of 'em - you might want to know that the company founders both have Philadelphia roots.
Cynthia Tice owned the Center Foods health-food shops on South Street and in Center City from 1977 to 2000. During that time, she consulted for grocer John Zagara, who owned Zagara's Markets. Zagara sold his business to Genuardi’s, which led her to work with that local chain. Meanwhile, Chuck Genuardi, son of the CEO, had obtained a master's in nutrition. The two worked together on various projects.
On her own, Tice discovered Stevia, a natural, zero-calorie sweetener, and decided to apply it to chocolate.
By then, Genuardi was running a store in Seattle. The two set up a company to make and distribute the four varieties: plain, coconut, almond and crispy rice.
Tice said she wanted to do something meaningful. Her niece in Devon, Lily Ciocca, had brain cancer when she was 7, so the company - named after her - donates a portion of profits to organizations that help childhood-cancer survivors.