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Shop Local Gift Guide: Candy Addict Satisfies Mill Avenue's Sweet Tooth

Published: Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 14:11

Candy Addict

Jorge Salazar

Candy Addict owner Frank Ellis (left) and Jamie Baudek.

Candy Addict 2

Jorge Salazar

Gift idea 1: Ceretta Chocolates, $11

Candy Addict 3

Jorge Salazar • College Times

Cocopotamus chocolates, $8.50

Candy Addict

414 S. Mill Avenue, Suite 119, Tempe, 480.921.1155

Open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

               

After spending 30 years working as an electrical engineer in tech-focused Silicon Valley, Frank Ellis wanted a change of scenery. Ellis moved to Tempe and found the perfect opportunity to open a shop that would not only reinvigorate his thirst for business, but also his sweet tooth.

Noting an over-abundance of nightlife spots along Mill Avenue, Ellis set out to create a location that was family-friendly: a candy store.

Candy Addict opened its doors in 2010 on the day after Christmas, fitting for a business that sets to bring a smile on the faces of those young and old.

"The best part of having a candy store is that people come in happy and they leave happy," Ellis said.

The inventory of over 1,500 varieties of candies includes everything from the sweet to the sour and from the chocolaty to the salty.

"Our goal with that large inventory was so that when somebody comes in here, chances are they will find something that tickles their fancy," he said.

Tickling Ellis's fancy is the popularity of Candy Addict. Heading into the store's first holiday season, he said he considers the business a very successful endeavor.

"A candy store is really one of those recession-proof businesses," Ellis said. "We have customers that come in and spend $200 and buy a bunch of gift candies, and we also have people that come and buy 35 cents-worth."

And while one would expect a candy store's target customer to be children, Candy Addict has proven to be a draw for an older demographic as well. The store's selection includes nostalgic candy from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s that are difficult to find at your local grocery store or gas station.

"People drive 40 miles to get an entire box of one of their old-time favorite candy bars," Ellis said. 

The business has also allowed for Ellis to engage and give back to the community, as it has been involved in many charitable activities.

Candy Addict has worked with ASU sororities and fraternities, donating gift baskets (ranging from $20 to $25) for charity drives, as well as backpacks filled with a pound of saltwater taffies. Ellis said the store has also sent hundreds of dollars in candy to US troops as part of their charity work.

Candy Addict's vast selection holds many options for gift shopping ideas.

Perhaps the most famous choice for gift giving is the Cocopotamus chocolate truffle selection. The all-natural gourmet fudge balls have been on TV personality Rachael Ray's gift guide for the last two years and were offered as part of the Academy Awards' celebrity gift bag. The chocolates come in a variety of flavors, including salty caramel filling and maple crystals. A box of five goes for $8.50 (a bargain compared to the distributor's $10, plus shipping). Candy Addict also allows customers to mix and match their favorite flavors.

Another popular gift idea is the Cerreta Candy Company's chocolate gift box. The Valley-based company, which has been run by four generations of chocolatiers, offers a set of western-inspired chocolates shaped in the form of cowboy boots, saddles and sheriff stars and runs for $11.

Whether it's an assortment of chocolates or a 5-pound gummy bear, Ellis is sure the store will offer something for everyone.

"We get that one-tenth of one percent of people that will come with a friend that will say ‘Oh no, I don't like candy,'" Ellis said. "But that's a rare duck. We don't see that very often."

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