Candy Bar satisfies the sweet tooth

Sitting in her shop all day, surrounded by Abba Zabbas, Walnettos, Boston Baked Beans, and Atomic Fireballs, it's a miracle Suzi Hunt doesn't have a mouthful of cavities.

Hunt, who opened the Candy Bar sweet shop around Thanksgiving last year in North Carson City, said the sugar-rush fascination quickly passes. And besides, she doesn't want to eat into her profits.

"It's only at about three in the afternoon that I get a craving," she joked.

Hunt, who previously operated the Nevada Children's Museum (she has since started using her married name, changing it from Mehan), said the shop is the only of its kind in Carson City and is attracting a niche of specialized customers.

"Kids can come in here, and parents know they can be safe," she said. "How could you not like a business where people come in with a smile and leave with a smile."

And word-of-mouth advertising is a strong component to any candy store's survival.

"The kids are saying 'I heard about your candy store; I can't wait to bring my mom,'" she said.

Inside the shop there is a section for See's candy, specialized chocolates and truffles, but most of the offerings have a nostalgic flair. Her personal favorite is the Halvah candy bar, but some of the big sellers include Fun Dip, Bit O' Honey and Laffy Taffy. Many selections are brands giving a portion of profits to charity.

In a curtained back room, "adult" theme candies prove popular for gag gifts and bachelor parties.

"People come in here and they remember the candy they used to eat when they were young," she said. "I have one guy who buys two boxes (of Dots) a week. He said I'm saving his marriage because his wife quit smoking."

Wedged between the Dollar Store and Straw Hat Pizza, Hunt said the location is prime for getting younger customers from the movie theater overflow, and parents with children from the Dollar Store. The only drawback, she said, is that the store is not highly visible.

Hunt said after leaving the museum, she was in shock for a few weeks, before she started looking for other work. She managed a Douglas County gift store for a while before setting out on her own. Her husband, Bob Hunt, built the "candy bar" that sits in the middle of the shop. Customers can buy bulk candies from the bar at $2.99 per half-pound.

As a retirement business, Hunt said the store gives her some much-needed relaxation while she undergoes chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer.

"I like to live for today," she said. "I can do that here."

The Candy Bar is open 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.


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