Wednesday, August 2, 2006
Candy Source: Powell’s Sweet Shoppe
Many months ago a reader, Todd, told me about Powell’s Sweet Shoppe in Windsor, California.
Little did I know my summer vacation would take me right there ... twice.
Powell’s Sweet Shoppe is more than just a simple candy shop. They have a fantastic selection of retro candy bars, bulk candies like ColorWorks M&Ms, Jelly Belly and other wrapped candies like Smarties, salt water taffy and Mary Janes. They also have a large selection of Twinkle lollipops and novelty items including tins of gum and mints all displayed in old buffets and apothecary cupboards. Don’t worry, they didn’t leave out chocolate aficianados, there was a decent selection of high end chocolate bars from Scharffen Berger, Hachez, Michel Cluizel and others.
Then there’s the gelato ... and soda pop. They have a huge selection of sodas in glass bottles from the plain old Crush to the microbrewed Root Beers.
But they also had a good selection of UK import bars, classic candy boxes and huge display of Fizzies (which have returned after being off the market for decades).
The prices were decent. I picked up a few classic regional bars for 89 cents each.
The biggest find there was a trove of Reeds candies in Root Beer and Cinnamon flavor. I know that there are quite a few people who have been looking high and low for them, well there are at least a dozen full boxes there in Windsor.
Windsor itself is an odd town. At first glance it looks like Healdsburg or any number of Victorian-era settlements off of Highway 101. But a closer inspection reveals that it’s all new construction. The center of town with its charming facades and pastels/terra cotta colors is pretty much turn of this century. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to live in a town that has a vibrant downtown and centralized gathering place. It just took me by surprise. For more on that see this article from SFGate.
Powell’s is completely themed with candy but a bit of a jumble. There is a soundtrack for the store and it consists of the song “Pure Imagination” sung by Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Over and over again. Add to that a little viewing area in the back with a loop of the movies. I was in the store for four loops of the song ... I don’t know how you could work there without going batty. That said, when I asked the sales staff about the Reeds candies, all they knew was that they were discontinued, they wouldn’t sell a whole box at any discount and they flat out refused to consider shipping them at all.
I also stopped at their sister store in Healdsburg (purely by coincidence) which is slightly smaller but had the same inventory.
If you’re toodling around wine country, it’s a great stop for something a little different. There were plenty of families with kids there, but also a good share of grownups shopping by themselves.
Powell’s Sweet Shoppes
322 Center Street
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.