Anybody who’s driven down Highway 11 south towards Orillia is familiar with the bright rainbow sign saying the sweet words, Candy Shoppe.
You can’t help but smile when you walk into the candy store located near Menoke Beach Road, and now there’s an opportunity for someone to call it their own.
After 23 years, owners Rita and Dean Robinson are retiring and selling the business, meaning the store will close unless they get a buyer.
When you walk into the Sweet Shoppe, the wave of nostalgia hits you. You can expect to see the old classics like ‘Razzles’ and ‘Tootsie Rolls’ along with new and even weird confections like ‘Fruity Pebbles Syrup’ for your pancakes.
Rita says they recently got a new soda called ‘Rocket Piss.’
“It actually glows in the dark. I don’t know how but it’s supposed to,” she jokes.
It doesn’t stop at candy. They offer a huge supply of pop culture items ‘Harry Potter’ backpacks, ‘Super Mario’ beanies, and ‘Back to the Future’ coffee mugs.
When it comes to owning a candy store, Rita says it can be tireless.
“We haven’t had a weekend off in 23 years,” she says.
“This store needs an owner here to see how it runs, to see for themselves what sells and what doesn’t. This place gets incredibly busy, especially in the summer, so it’s a lot of work.”
Running the place can be tough but also a lot of fun, including the perk of trying new treats from around the world.
“My husband, I think he eats all the profits,” Rita jokes.
‘He’s a complete choc-a-holic. I’ve never seen anybody with a tolerance for chocolate like him. And he’s curious; he always wants to try everything.”
Another bright spot is the customers.
“People are always smiling, and they’re always happy,” Rita says.
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“The colours outside are anti-grump colours. People who walk in anticipate leaving all the troubles at the door, coming in, and having a good time. And they love to see the candy they haven’t seen since they were little. The look on their face makes it worth it.”
She adds that her customers always want to be there.
“You’re not selling people anything they don’t want. You’re not forcing them to buy anything. You’re not trying to make a sale; you’re not trying to convince them to buy something. People here are really easygoing.”
Rita says her customers have told her they hope the store remains a candy shoppe.
“The business itself is great. It’s a traditional place for people to stop, go to the bathroom, and take a break halfway from here to there.”
The Robinsons lease runs out in November, and Rita says anyone interested would have to take the lease over from there.
“They would have to talk to the landlord of the building, and the new owner would then buy out our inventory.”
The Robinsons have been trying the sell since last January, and the problem has nothing to do with interest.
“We’ve had many interested buyers in the last year; the problem is potential buyers can’t find a place to live locally,” she explains.”
“Most people interested have lived over an hour away and can’t find a home nearby. Long-time customers want it to remain, so I hope somebody will step forward before the final day.
images: MJ/Barrie 360