It doesn’t matter whether you have a sweet tooth or not. A trip to Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop will make your day.
Visit any of the three shops in the region — located in Miamisburg, Middletown and Troy — and you’ll find a store chock-full of hundreds of types of candy bars, bulk candies and more.
The Miamisburg shop, the first in Ohio, opened at 42 S. Main St. in 2016 in the former Paff Jewelry Store. Inside, rubber chickens and Slinky toys hang from the ceiling as customers browse stacks of candy and gifts.
“We want you to come in and go ‘oh my god, I can’t believe this is here. Look at all the candy, look at all the gifts, look at all the soda,’” said Bill Kelly, who owns the store with his wife Tiffany and their partner, Christopher Beers, who founded the company in Pittsburgh.
One wall of the store is dedicated to 250 types of glass bottle sodas, among them 35 different root beers. There are “old school” flavors and brands like birch beer, sarsaparilla and grape, orange and peach Nehi.
Flavors you have never imagined would be carbonated are also on the wall. Soda infused to taste like sweet corn, ketchup, ranch dressing, celery and pickle are among the more obscure. Visitors can build their own 6-pack of soda — buy five and get the sixth bottle free every day.
The store carries 250 types of candy bars and offers bulk candy orders and gourmet chocolate candies. The typical candy you might purchase in a grocery store can be found but so can exotic brands from around the world.
The store carries 100 imports from two dozen countries, Kelly said. Among them are Cadbury’s Curly Wurly bar, a British concoction of caramel and milk chocolate and the Japanese Popin’ Cookin’ kit that makes homemade sushi-shaped confections.
Among all that candy is a shelf dedicated to more adventurous palates. Dried crickets in sour cream, salt n’ vinegar and bacon and cheese flavors are lined up next to chocolate covered scorpions (only 15 calories) and boxes of candied earth worms.
“We’re that kid in a candy store but for grownups,” Kelly said. “But don’t get me wrong, there is a ton of stuff here for kids, too.”
Karen Hauck of Miamisburg and her sons Fritz, 5 and Harrison, 2, like to stop in the shop after taking art lessons downtown. “Their faces light up when we’re in there, which is always great to see as a parent,” Hauk said. “It’s a really fun interactive store.”
Recently Hauk bought crayon-shaped gummies for her sons, the same candy she coveted as a kid. “I think it’s fun for parents to experience things from their own childhood with their children.”
Another popular section of the store for kids is the “world famous” candy buffet. Pack as much candy in the box as you can from the designated bins, and as long as the lid closes it only costs $5.
Nostalgia is a big draw. Not only do they have throwback Rocky Road, Idaho Spud and Charleston Chew candy bars, a large gift section has mugs, mints, playing cards and soap with the likenesses of Mr. Rogers, The Golden Girls and Bob Ross, the long-time PBS artist. There is also a selection of whimsical socks.
“I think everyone likes to remember what is was like to be a kid and the fun they had,” Kelly said. “We often hear, ‘I remember this from my childhood. I can’t believe you guys have this.’”