Ever since the first candy bar was created in the 1800s, people have found comfort and nostalgia in retro-themed sweet shops. Something about being surrounded by the smells of fresh confections and cheery colors of classic candies evokes memories of childhood wonder. When opening an old-fashioned candy store, you want to bring the adage “like a kid in a candy store” to life!
If you’re thinking about launching an old-fashioned candy store franchise, it’s important to capture that nostalgia to bring in new customers and make them feel at home in your shop. Patrons should walk through the door and feel as though they’ve been transported to a simpler time, away from the stress of modern life.
From choosing the right stock to creating the right atmosphere within your candy franchise, here are six ways to capture that sentimentality and bring some throwback joy to your community.
Glass jars full of pastel-colored wrapped taffy, a vintage gumball machine stocked with bright globes of bubblegum, and rows of striped candy sticks will transport your candy store franchise customers back in time to a retro sweets shop on Main Street!
Stock The Old Favorites…
Classic offerings like Tootsie Rolls, Bit-O-Honey, Sugar Babies and other throwbacks will take your adult customers back to their childhoods while introducing younger patrons (ie, the “whipper snappers”) to the candies that have stood the test of time.
These candies – some of which have been around for more than a century – are still popular for a reason. You can even train your staff on the history of some of the classic candies (for example, did you know that the creator of the Tootsie Roll, Leo Hirshfield, named the candy after his daughter’s nickname?) so that your patrons can learn more about the treats you offer!
…And Try Something New!
While the old classics may hit all the right notes for candy-induced nostalgia, offering some more sophisticated treats will bring in customers looking to try something unexpected. Boozy treats like champagne flavored gummy bears or liquor-filled chocolates can appeal to adults looking for something more grown-up, while unexpected flavor combinations invite visitors to expand their horizons. Hard candies that combine classic flavors with herbal or floral notes – lemon and lavender, orange and ginger, strawberry and basil – can be a revelation! If you’re making chocolates or fudge in-house (highly recommended!) then you have the license to be creative with your recipes! Making and selling candy is more than just a business – when done right, it’s art.
Appeal To All Senses
The best way to create a full immersive experience is by surrounding your visitors with sensory reminders of vintage candy shops that they remember from childhood. Making treats on-site will fill the air with the indulgent scents of chocolate and caramel, while old favorite tunes on the speakers (“Sugar Sugar” by The Archies is practically a requirement!) will add to the aesthetic. Bowls of tightly-wrapped candies invite kids to rummage around for their perfect flavor. The goal is to make your candy franchise feel like a time capsule back to an era full of simple pleasures – like a sherbert lemon candy melting on your tongue!
Nothing tempts a sweet tooth than a small taste of the treats you have to offer! Market research has consistently shown that offering samples increases sales and keeps customers coming back for more. Providing trays of tiny slivers of fudge, mini cups of popcorn, and mini balls of taffy will activate your customers’ sweet tooth and entice them to come back for more.
You can even set up a cart outside your candy shop to tempt passers-by to come in and see what you have to offer, or encourage your customers to try a taste of the peanut brittle they’re eyeballing in the display case. Take the opportunity to create an experience for your patrons beyond a simple business transaction
Stay Sweet, But Get A Little Salty
Don’t limit yourself to sugary treats – mix it up with some salty snacks as well! Popcorn is a perfect example of a versatile snack that can be dressed up in several ways – sweet, salty, spicy, or savory! Offering a range of goodies for your patrons means that there’s something for everyone, and the throwback of popcorn in red-and-white striped cartons fits neatly into the retro vibe of a classic candy store, and the sound and smell of popping corn will add to the nostalgic atmosphere of your candy store franchise.
Treat Your Customers Like Your Neighbors With a Candy Store Franchise
The best part of old fashioned candy store franchises is the community appeal of a local shop. A friendly staff that welcomes and remembers their repeat customers will make your shop a go-to gathering space for your neighborhood. By harkening back to a simpler time – one where everyone knew their neighbors and when local business owners had personal relationships with their customers – you can not only increase your sales, but also build your brand as a pillar of your community and a beloved local business.
The beauty of a candy shop is that it literally introduces some sweet pleasures into the lives of your neighbors and shoppers. Creating a nostalgic, frozen-in-time atmosphere that feels welcoming and joyous will make your candy franchise more than just a business venture, but a retreat from the stress of modern life. Enjoy a little bit of old-fashioned joy, and share some sweetness with your customers!