Throwback candy store now open in Front Royal

Penny candy a specialty among others
Stephonie Baker, of Linden, bags candy recently in I Want Candy, a retro penny candy store located on Chester Street in Front Royal. Baker shop offers more than 150 varieties of candy. Rich Cooley/Daily
This guitar at I Want Candy is made out of candy bars and Twizzlers. Rich Cooley/Daily
Dalton Pratt, 15 months, samples a lollypop at the I Want Candy store. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – I Want Candy, a retro penny candy store, is now open just off of Main Street.

The shop, located at 12 Chester St., offers bulk candy, candy by the piece, unique candy creations and presentations for weddings, birthdays and other events.

Owner Stephonie Baker, who moved to Front Royal nine years ago, said she saw a need for I Want Candy after realizing there weren’t other candy operations of its kind in the area.

“I mean, there’s a theater, we should have a candy place,” she said. “I was doing candy bars for weddings, birthday parties and what not and I always over-order candy and I always have extra left and it seemed for a waste for me to eat it or for our kids to eat it.”

Baker said that growing up, candy was a treat of the highest order, and those memories were part of her inspiration to open the shop.

The penny candy nature of the business is quite literal, as those who come into the shop pay by the piece, some of which are 1 cent while others are 5 cents. After they’ve made their selections, Baker counts them up and adds up the price.

Baker said that her goals aren’t necessarily profit-oriented, and she hopes to establish a happy, positive place for children and their parents to have a good time.

“Main Street [real estate] is extremely expensive,” she explained. “When you’re selling penny candy, you don’t want expensive. I’m not in it for a huge profit. This is more for the kids.

“I had an 8 or 9-year-old come in a couple weeks ago and he was sitting here and he had his dollar and he’s walking around and he said, ‘Now I know what it means when they say kid in a candy store!’ Really nowadays, kids don’t get that experience. You can walk down the aisle in Wal-Mart and you can easily get a bag of candy, but you can’t get a little of this, a little of that.”

She said I Want Candy is an experience for her customers.

“We’ll have kids come in and bring their piggy banks. And it’s teaching kids not only how to count. I’ll have little ones, like 3-, 4-, 5-year-olds and I’ll say, ‘OK, help me count,’ and they love it. They feel like they’re involved. They get to choose their own candy, they get to pay their own money.”

I Want Candy offers international confections as well as American candy. Baker explained that German and Japanese candies are popular, noting that the pancake- and green tea-flavored Kit-Kat bars are among Japan’s more interesting contributions to the candy world.

Baker said she sees plenty of instances where a parent and his child will come in and the parent is just as interested as the child.

“I love seeing the looks on people’s faces when they come in and see something they forgot about. It’s just really fun,” she said.

I Want Candy also offers completely customized candy bouquets for around $20. Baker also does candy bars for events and what she calls candy creations that can be anything the customer asks for. One on display was a candy guitar, Twizzler strings and all.

I Want Candy can be found on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/j4fqby.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com

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