The rise of health concerns and increased competition over the past five years have all played a part in halting the growth of the candy production industry in America.
Awareness regarding (and subsequent wariness towards) the negative connotations of sugar-rich, high-calorie products have spread among consumers. On top of this, the portion of the population that does consume sweets have increasingly been inclined to prefer chocolate — which, while being a sugar-based product, falls primarily under the purview of the chocolate production industry.
However, the candy production industry has been continually adapting to the health-conscious needs of the populace by means of innovations, all of which has led to rather positive results.
The USA contains some of the most impressive candy stores in the world, and here are 10 of the very best that the country has to offer.
Best Candy Stores in the US
Chutters, New Hampshire:
A mainstay of Littleton’s Main Street since the 1800s, Chutters is home to a staggering 112-foot-long candy counter, which is the longest of its kind in the world. P
opulated with over 500 different kinds of treats, this New Hampshire institution is also famous for its fudge (prepared in-house) and homemade chocolates. The jelly beans are also a huge hit with the customers.
It has another branch in Lincoln, along with two seasonal branches in Bretton Woods and Loon Mountain.
Big Top Candy Shop, Texas:
Decked out in circus memorabilia, this highlight of Austin’s iconic South Congress strip has a certain vivacious, old-fashioned charm about it. Opened in October 2007, and dubbed “The Most Amazing Candy Store The World Has Ever Known”,
its prime attraction is a fully-functioning, classic soda fountain stocked with favorites such as egg creams, malts, and ice cream floats.
Ye Olde Pepper Companie, Massachusetts:
Run by America’s oldest candy company, this little shop is home to the country’s first commercially available candies — Salem Gibralters (hard candies made with lemon or peppermint), which have been sold here for over 200 years now.
Other trademark items include the BlackJack molasses sticks. There are plenty of other treats available as well, such as fudge, saltwater taffy, etc. The place has expanded beyond the flagship Salem store over the years and currently includes a North Andover branch, along with a wholesale division and a website store.
Family tradition is a bit of a theme here, with it being on its fourth generation of candy makers.
Albanese Confectionery, Indiana:
This Merrillville outfit is truly the mecca for all your gummy bear-related cravings — it churns out 72 million gummies a day in 50 different shapes (from traditional bears and butterflies to Army guys and rattlesnakes) and flavors (such as orange cream, mango, and red-hot cinnamon).
At Albanese, you get to try free samples of the gummy bears before deciding to purchase them, which is a great perk, considering the sheer amount of options.
Touring the gummy plant afterward is a must-do, as all gummies are made on-site.
Scrummy Afters Candy Shoppe, Maine:
Named after the British slang for “scrumptious desserts”, this whimsical, wacky, and wonderfully eclectic sweets store contains an ever-growing palate of self-serve bulk candy and packaged novelty candies.
The interiors are eye-catching, with colorful fabric and rainbow umbrellas that hang from the ceiling. Although the owners maintain that the candy is “second to experience”, there are some truly wild and weird creations available for purchase,
such as chocolate dragon eggs and homemade chocolate ‘lobstah’ pops, along with the more relatively par-for-the-course servings such as luscious gelato and candy bouquets.
Nisshodo Mochiya Candy Store, Hawaii:
A constant presence in the Honolulu candy scene for 90 years, Nisshodo not only keeps sweets but a number of vivid and delectable Japanese confections.
House specialties include chichi dango (sweet dumplings made of rice flour), kinako dango, mochi/manju (rice flour balls filled with things like bean paste, coconut, or even peanut butter), kingyoku and rakugan.
The recipes used in the shop were brought over by its founder, Asataro Hirao, from Hiroshima in 1916.
Economy Candy, New York:
A staple of Manhattan’s Lower East Side since 1937, browsing through this cozy and small store results in a sensory explosion. Sweets are literally jam-packed from floor to ceiling in every direction with every candy imaginable.
The high shelves and narrow aisles of Economy Candy are stacked with old-school favorites and contemporary bestsellers, along with some great deals on bulk candy.
Alongside popular items such as chocolate-covered graham crackers (with and without jelly), chocolate-covered pretzels, jelly rings, and bags of gummies, there are also zanier options such as 3-foot lollipops, 5-pound Hershey’s bars, and giant Dum Dums.
The Candy Factory, North Carolina:
While primarily a candy store, this Lexington-based outfit’s antique decorations were such a hit with their customer base, that the owners began selling them along with candy.
The red and white striped awning to the brick walls and the wood worn floors all add to the Candy Factory’s old-fashioned candy shop aesthetic.
Its candy selection is similarly themed: nostalgic candies, chocolates, Red Bird peppermint puffs (made locally since 1890), stick candy, licorice, sugar-free hard candies and chocolates, root beer barrels, and a ton of other old-school candy favorites.
Shane Confectionery, Pennsylvania:
Established in 1863, this is the oldest candy store in America. Stepping into this historical shop is akin to stepping through a time portal and arriving in the 19th century — with the ornate blue shelves, gleaming candy-filled jars, intricate white molding, and museum-worthy cash registers — all the result of a recent restoration initiative.
The employees also take part in this elaborate bit by dressing in old-timey garb, from hats and bow ties to floor-length dresses and hairnets.
Available specialties include mixed chocolates and caramels, buttercream eggs, fudge, almond toffee crunch, nonpareils, old-fashioned clear toys, sugared fruit slices, and all-natural jelly beans.
How Sweet Is This, Missouri:
Formerly known as “Oh Lolli Lolli”, the “Itsy Bitsy Candy Shoppe” truly lives up to its moniker by maxing out at a mere 300 square feet.
However, size is no barrier to quality. Located in the picturesque Hi-Pointe–DeMun Historical Business District, this teeny-tiny bite of sweet-tooth wonderland is a delightfully retro candy store specializing in gourmet chocolates, a wide variety of gummies and nostalgic candies.
There is a huge variety of bulk candies and a wall full of gummies available, along with old-school treats such as the Big League Chew and bestsellers like gummy bears dipped in chocolate and toffee pistachios.