BY MARK LORENTZ
You’re finally finished that last candy bar from your Halloween stash, and figure it’s a bit too soon to grab the peppermint candy canes. Luckily a new candy store has opened just six kilometres from Conestoga’s Doon campus that can satisfy all your sweet-tooth cravings.
Candy Funhouse had its grand opening on Nov. 9 after four months of painting, planning and more painting. You can’t miss the store located on King Street in Cambridge. If C.C. (Candy Crusher), a six-foot-tall purple gorilla, doesn’t give it away, the purple, pink, blue and yellow paint job on the outside of the building surely will.
Owner Moe Hejazi has a biology degree from the University of Windsor and, at 26 years of age, owning a candy store would seem the unlikeliest of career paths. “Ya, I mean, eventually I’d like to do something with my degree, but my dad owned a candy store growing up and it’s just stuck with me.”
The store is filled with a wide variety of sweets and toys, even having diabetic and kosher options. Most of the candy is shipped from the U.S. with a small selection coming from overseas. The most popular candy, Curly-Wurly’s, comes from Cadbury in the U.K. Retro candies were a hit amongst the older people who attended the grand opening, giving them flashbacks to their childhood.
“I remember this gum (Thrills). It says on the package “tastes like soap” and it really does. I have no idea why I enjoy it so much,” said Anna Maslen, a retired bookkeeper.
The children, on the other hand, enjoyed taking part in the “shock challenge,” eating a powdered candy that is so sour it can cause a variety of reactions. “Some people’s reactions go from sweating, to extreme convulsions, and some people have no reaction at all,” said Nikkila Rox, manager of Candy Funhouse.
The store also had special appearances by Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig, “Santa Claus” and a Willy Wonka impersonator. Craig was only in the store a short time, to say hello to the owners and wish them luck with their new business venture, and participate in the ceremonial ribbon cutting, alongside Shirley Bowman of the Preston Towne Centre Business Improvement Area.
When asked about having such young business owners in Cambridge, Craig said that there has never been a limit on the age of a business owner. “Having ambition to achieve your dreams early is a trait to be admired,” he said. The mayor was given chocolate cigars as a token of appreciation for making an appearance.
The grand opening ran from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m., with various musical acts, face painting and door prizes throughout the day. Hejazi estimated that around 500 people visited the store.
“It’s beyond words, it is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” Hejazi said.
From the clichéd kids in a candy store, to parents and seniors alike remembering the days of simpler times, Candy Funhouse offers something for everyone. Tanya Hartman, an employee and the “candy queen,” said there’s a certain energy to the store that can’t really be explained.
“People come in here and assume it’s just another candy store, but after spending time in here and getting to know us, you remember the experience, that’s what we’re trying to do,” Hartman said.
Candy Funhouse may look like just a candy store at a quick glance, but they have so much more to offer, from hosting birthday parties to baby showers, and everything in between. The owner is also keen on helping out the community, and is always looking for local talent to perform, paint or draw within the store.
“We’re about the community, so having local artists come in and paint the walls or design a mural, it really adds to the store and what we’re all about,” Hejazi said.
For more information on store hours, how to get involved in art shows or open-mic nights, visit www.candyfunhouse.ca
BY MARK LORENTZ