Candy stores are special. We remember those little shops where we pressed our youthful faces against the showcase glass trying to choose among our favorites. We may also remember Pearson’s and Abdallah candies, as these products have been around since 1909. Southern Minnesotans may remember a small family-run business in Owatonna; Costas that has been making chocolates since 1919. Newly established special shops get our attention, such as Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store in Jordan and a special little shop in south Minneapolis called Sugar, Sugar Candy. Some of the above are featured in a previously published article, “Best Chocolate Shops In Minnesota.” Here are perhaps the five most noteworthy Minnesota candy stores worthy of a visit or two.
435 Wabasha Street North
Saint Paul, MN 55102
Massive chocolate-covered cashew turtles, airy and crunchy molasses bars and Penuchi Fudge are a few of the many selections to choose from at this popular downtown candy store. Another rare treat is the Carmallow, made of marshmallows dipped in caramel, dipped in chocolate and topped with a cherry. Pure cane sugar, rich chocolate, genuine creamery butter and wholesome natural flavors are the exclusive ingredients in all of these delectable choices. Established on Wabasha Street in 1932 as FlavoCorn, adding candy in the 1940s, this confectioner has seen generations pass through the doorway of this tiny little shop for decades. Now you get the same delicious samples at two Minneapolis locations and in Stillwater.
Related: See WCCO’s Matt Brickman naming Candyland as the Best Candy Store Of Minnesota.
Oldest in Minnesota
Canelake’s Old Fashioned Hand Made Candies
414 Chestnut St
Virginia, MN 55792
Go to the Fitger’s building in downtown Virginia and you will discover abundantly delectable hand-dipped delights, fudges, chocolates, crèmes, peanut brittle, almond bark, toffee, cashew clusters, turtles, roasted nut candies and ‘Hot Air’ that some call sponge candy. The store dates back to 1905 when Gust Canelake established the Virginia Candy Kitchen. Jim Cina purchased the store more than 30 years ago after apprenticing with Cranelake’s sons.
Most Eye Appealing
Northwoods Candy Emporium
312 N Garden
Bloomington, MN 55425
You can’t walk by this store if you have children. In fact, you may need to walk faster to keep up with the kids as they approach the store. Northwoods packed this cozy compartment with wall-to-wall colorful, flavorful candy. The helpful staff offers free samples of mouthwatering fudge until you can decide which of the fine flavors you wish to acquire. This is yet another of the many fun places to visit at the Mall of America. You can also visit a Northwoods store in Rochester and St Cloud.
Best Chocolate Covered Potato Chips
Widman’s Candy Shop
116 S Broadway
Crookston, MN 56716
Widman’s hand-dipped “Chippers” have attracted an enthusiastic fan base throughout North Dakota and Minnesota since George Widman introduced them 45 years ago. The Widman family, purveyors of premium candies since 1885, hand dip all their candies and even make the insides. George’s children separately own and operate three stores. Son George owns the Crookston store at the address listed above. Son Dan is the Candy Maker at George’s Candy Shop in Grand Forks. Daughter Carol Widman Kennedy greats customers from behind the counter in her Fargo store and will ply you with irresistible samples. Look for Chippers, Truffles, Caramels, Turtles, Peanut Brittle, Hot Air, Chocolate Roses and other tempting indulgences at all three Widman Stores.
Regina’s Fine Candies
2073 St. Clair Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105
“My grandfather came from Greece and established a candy store in downtown St. Paul on Wabasha Street,” says third generation candy maker, Mark Elliott. The English Toffees are the biggest sellers, according to Mark, saying “I believe they are the best because I have not found anything better at any other store.” Butter Almond and regular Toffees are popular too, according to Mark. With over 400 varieties of candies to choose from, Regina’s comfortably claims to have the largest selection of candies in Minnesota. Regina makes all chocolates, brittles and caramels in copper kettles and on marble tables at the St Clair and Cleveland Avenue facility. Shoppers can also find this large selection at the West St. Paul shop on South Robert Street.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.