Lambert Chocolatier doesn't officially open its Sayre storefront for the season until Dec. 1, but employees have been making chocolate non-stop for nearly a month.

This year, the company will ship its chocolates to 34 states and even internationally, with assortments slated to travel as far as Canada, England and India. Over 400 companies depend on the company for Christmas gifts for clients and staff, said owner Hal Lambert.

"The corporate orders are far and wide," he said. "It grows so much each year."

The company began filling corporate orders at the beginning of November, making and sorting a variety of chocolates, peanut butter balls, chocolate-covered pretzels and fruits and other delights. The chocolate is then packaged into assortments ranging from small trays to pizza-size platters.

Over 250 United States Postal Service boxes were stacked in one of the store's rooms Thursday, waiting to be filled. Between 350 and 400 assortments will be shipped by the end of the week, Lambert said.

Lambert estimated that another 500 to 600 assortments stay in the region, with many local businesses scooping them up for staff gifts.

Lambert said he, his wife Janet and employees will spend the next week to ten days busily completing corporate orders and filling the Desmond Street store, which currently has a limited amount of chocolate Santas and other holiday-themed chocolates filling its shelves.

"We're here every single day, all day and all evening," Lambert said.

The business opened in April 1978 as Hal's Hot Dog Stand at the current location, but the chocolate portion of the business remained long after the hot dog operation, which later expanded to include a full menu, closed 17 years ago. The Lamberts operate the chocolate business from late fall to early spring each year, closing for the season after the Easter holiday.

Customers still ask about the hot dogs, but the chocolate business has grown tremendously on its own, and operating the store is "a lot of fun," Lambert said. "We enjoy it."

Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: arenko@thedailyreview.com.