Candy Addict opens on Mill

by Georgann Yara – Jan. 22, 2011
Special for the Republic

When Frank Ellis moved to Tempe last May, he wanted more than a change in scenery.

After 30 years as an engineer in the Silicon Valley, Ellis’ desire to get out of the corporate grind resulted in the Candy Addict, a store that opened Dec. 26 at 414 S. Mill Ave.

The shop has more than 1,150 types of treats, ranging from current to old-fashioned favorites.

Ellis moved from San Jose when his wife, Pam, the vice president of a stock-management company, received a job transfer. The couple moved into a home near downtown and wanted to pursue one of their many retail concepts for an independent business.

“We saw the space, the big open windows, big double doors. We looked at that and said ‘candy store,’ ” Ellis said.

The 1,250-square-foot space now features shelves loaded with every type of sugary and chocolate treat imaginable, many of them nostalgic candies such as old-fashioned lollipops, Pez dispensers and others that customers haven’t seen for decades.

The European Cadbury chocolates, sour candies and wrapped bulk candies that sell for $2.49 for a quarter pound are among the most popular. A 24-foot-long wall at the south side of the store features gum and mints and pinatas in the shape of baseballs. Lipstick and flip-flops line top shelves.

Ellis is optimistic that his candy concept will survive the economic pitfalls that have claimed other small, independent businesses in Tempe in recent years. He and Pam researched the demographics of the area and concluded the shop would appeal to the mix of college students, light-rail riders, tourists and business crowd in downtown.

“This little candy store could end up being one of the pinnacles of the mom-and-pop concept,” he said. “The response has been stellar.”

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